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A spirit that is not afraid

Tigers looking to bounce back against Panthers after first loss

Auburn's Wendell Green Jr. (1) sits on the ground after receiving a foul call in a game against the Memphis Tigers in State Farm Arena on Dec. 10, 2022.
Auburn's Wendell Green Jr. (1) sits on the ground after receiving a foul call in a game against the Memphis Tigers in State Farm Arena on Dec. 10, 2022.

Auburn looks to bounce in their return to Neville Arena after suffering its first loss of the season to Memphis on Saturday night in Atlanta. This game will be a quick pit stop before hitting the road again.

The Tigers meet the Georgia State Panthers on Wednesday in their seventh overall meeting, where Auburn leads the series at six games to one. This will be the first time that the teams have met since 2016, a game in which Auburn took 83-65.

Auburn is coming off of its first defeat of the season in a neutral-site game that was purely controlled by Memphis for much of the action. On the other side of the court, the Panthers look to get back to two games over .500 this season after suffering their fourth loss of the season at Northeastern by 20.

Despite being close competitively for the second half of the game, the effort was not enough for Georgia State to pull out a win on Sunday. The Panthers trailed at the end of the first half by a score of 34-17, and they did not have the lead once throughout the entire game.

On average, the Panthers score 66.8 points per game, which is 6.2 points less than what Auburn is averaging. That ranks No. 13 in the Sun Belt Conference, with only Texas State trailing behind them. They will have to get past the duo of Dylan Cardwell and Johni Broome, who rank third and fourth respectively in the SEC in blocks per game. Taking and making shots from the middle and outside of the arc needs to be their plan offensively to have success.

Auburn is also coming off some struggles of its own. After a performance where it shot just 38.1% from the field and 25% from the three-point line, the Tigers need to find a way to take comfortable shots and get out to an early lead against a team who ranks last in the Sun Belt in shooting percentage. Auburn needs to shoot well from the charity stripe as well, another aspect it has struggled with. It ranks 11th in the SEC in that category.

On the other side of the ball, Auburn needs to continue to play safe and sound defense against its opponents. The Tigers are holding their opponents to just 60.7 points per game and are forcing those teams into 14.8 turnovers a game. They have to be wary, though, with the personal foul numbers. 

Auburn has posted 170 fouls on the season, which can pose a threat as the Panthers rank second from the free-throw line in the Sun Belt, shooting 76.8%. If Georgia State can get to the line frequently, the fouls could become a key aspect in this game.

This is a key game for both teams, with Georgia State looking to make a bounce-back statement, while Auburn is also looking to bounce back at home before quickly hitting the road for two games on the West Coast. A win for either team will be great momentum for the future. This game begins at 7 p.m. CST on Wednesday and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

Tyler Raley | Sports Writer

Tyler Raley is a junior from Birmingham, Alabama, majoring in journalism.

Twitter: @traley34

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