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A spirit that is not afraid

Tigers defeat Bayou Bengals with disruptive defense

Having won five of their last six games and playing well on both ends of the court, the Auburn Tigers tallied another game to the win column as they put the kibosh on the Bayou Bengals, 67-49. 

This marks their 110th win in the last five seasons, the most in the SEC and significant milestone for the  program under head coach Bruce Pearl. 

“Good road win. Great balance,” Pearl said. “LSU, their back was against the wall a little bit tonight. And we knew that we really established ourselves pretty well. Played pretty well, led for most of the game... Really good team victory.” 

Wendell Green Jr. has been playing well the past few games, contributing 14 points against LSU on 36% shooting and averaging just over 18 points through his last four games.  

“I just think his tempo is really good, his control of the game,” Pearl said. “He’s running when it’s time to run. He’s not going too fast, putting guys in bad positions, and trusting our stuff. Wendell also knows a lot of the things that are true in the drop back that are going to come his way. So, he doesn’t have to worry about not getting another touch.” 

Battling a slight injury earlier in the season that slowed him down for a few games, Green Jr. is settling back into a rhythm that Auburn fans have become familiar with.

“That’s big,” Green Jr. said. “I’m the point guard, we’re on the road. I’ve got to lead the team with that. Hopefully I can keep that going.” 

Jaylin Williams also contributed 14 points and 3 blocks in the game. The Tigers also shot 44% from the floor as well as 33% from deep. It was a bit of a setback from their past few games — where they shot 46.6% from the floor and 38.5% from behind the arc — but the defense's production balanced out that  shift.

Eight players for Auburn scored 4 or more points, as well as six players having 4 or more boards against LSU. 

“That balance is what our calling card is,” Pearl said. “We’ve got some guys that can win their position in this league.” 

The Tigers had another great perimeter defensive performance where they allowed the Bayou Bengals to only shoot 29% from three-point range. This statistic helped Auburn get into the top 11 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. 

“Well, we did a lot of switching It bothered them and you know we put bodies on bodies,” Pearl said. “Our bigs are able to move their feet and guard guys going downhill. And you know that was significant Our guards don’t get beat up too badly on the inside. I thought our rebounding was really significant, the fact that we had 30 defensive rebounds, they had 14 offensive. You know 14 offensive is a lot, but given all the switching, I thought we did a good job, held our own. They only had 9 second chance points.” 

Auburn (15-3, 5-1 SEC) will travel again this weekend to play against South Carolina on the road. Tip-off is set to be at 2:30 p.m. CST, and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network. 

William Halliday | Sports Writer

A freshman from Memphis, Tenn., William Halliday started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.

Twitter: @wphalliday3

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