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A spirit that is not afraid

Broome a bright spot on disappointing day for Auburn

Auburn's Johni Broome (4) dunks for two in a matchup against the Memphis Tigers in State Farm Arena on Dec. 10, 2022.
Auburn's Johni Broome (4) dunks for two in a matchup against the Memphis Tigers in State Farm Arena on Dec. 10, 2022.

When Auburn landed forward Johni Broome as a transfer from Morehead State, optimism was high. Broome, along with Dylan Cardwell, would follow in the footsteps of the 22nd pick in the NBA Draft, Walker Kessler.

After being hampered by an ankle injury during the first few games of the season, Broome has now emerged as a consistent performer for an Auburn offense that has otherwise struggled. 

“Johni knows how to act, feel and play like the best player on the floor,” said head coach Bruce Pearl after Auburn’s win over Florida.

Broome, who leads the Tigers with 13.1 points per game, has not been held below double-figures in scoring since a Nov. 23 game against Northwestern. 

On Wednesday night at Georgia, Broome scored 22 of Auburn’s 64 points — his eighth consecutive game in double figures, a streak that dates back to Auburn’s win over Saint Louis on Nov. 27.

Broome was active on the boards as well, grabbing 12 rebounds for the Tigers. It was the fourth consecutive game in which Broome was a team leader in both points and rebounds.

Despite missing some time in the first half of Wednesday’s game after rolling his ankle, Broome scored 15 of his points in the second half while playing on the sore ankle.

Against the Bulldogs, Broome showed a new dimension to his game, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in a 9-for-17 shooting night. Prior to Wednesday, Broome had never made multiple 3-pointers in a single game. 

Broome was the only Auburn player to make multiple 3-pointers in the game against Georgia and accounted for nine of Auburn’s 24 made baskets from the field.

Broome’s success this season has translated to his defense and rebounding. He is currently fourth in the SEC with 8.4 rebounds per game and is second in the league in blocks, with 2.7 per game. Broome is the only player in the SEC to rank in the league’s top five for rebounds and blocks per game.

Broome has recorded a double-double in three games this season, including in both of Auburn’s conference games thus far.

In the midst of his second double-double against Florida, Broome was able to do something not even Kessler could do — shut down Colin Castleton. The All-SEC forward who averaged 20.5 points per game with Kessler as his matchup last season was held to six by Broome and Cardwell. 

“I feel like I gave it my best shot and I was able to contain him,” Broome said after the game.

Now that his offense has caught up to his defense, Auburn will look to Broome for a spark as it continues to work out its offensive struggles. Pearl hopes that Broome’s newfound stroke from three will aid the Tigers in the future as well.

“It was good to see (Broome) knock down a couple of 3’s,” Pearl said. “We can build on that a little bit. He made one at Washington, he’s made some in practice. I thought he could be a stretch five. He hadn’t shown any ability in the fall or summer but he has recently so that could help us offensively.”

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Matthew Wallace | Sports Reporter

Matthew is a junior from Huntsville, Alabama majoring in journalism. He started with The Plainsman in fall 2021.

Twitter: @mattwallaceAU

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