The Tigers are back to their winning ways after a dominant 94-73 win over the Georgia Bulldogs. This ends their two game losing streak and improves their SEC record to 7-2 with an overall record of 17-5.
Late in the first half, sophomore forward Johni Broome hit a double-double and ultimately finished the night with 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. Now on a four-game streak of double-digit scoring, this is Broome's seventh double-double of the season and his first time to reach that benchmark before halftime.
“I took care of the ball and made smart plays. My teammates put me in good spots,” Broome said. “Coming into the game, we knew we had to be the more physical team and dominate the glass.”
Senior Allen Flanigan led the pack in scoring, finishing with 22 points while junior Wendell Green Jr. finished with 18 and junior K.D. Johnson with 13.
The Tigers struggled to find their offense in the beginning of the first half, starting the game 4-for-12 from the field; however, they quickly found their rhythm and stayed with it for the rest of the night. Auburn finished the game with a scoring percentage of 66.2% while having four players in double digits.
“We watched a lot of film this week and we broke down a lot of our transition,” said head coach Bruce Pearl. "Our guys were locked into the scouting report and what we did bothered them."
Defensively, the Tigers finished the game with eight steals from five different players. The defense also forced 13 visitor turnovers, scoring 20 points from turnovers alone.
“We talked about not letting them beat us on the boards and not beating us in transition with turnovers. We did a great job with that," Pearl said. "Stephen Pearl did a phenomenal job in scout tonight. He recommended some adjustments defensively and they were the right recommendations.”
Following a slow offensive start, Broome started off the scoring for the Tigers by forcing a three-point play under the basket, which was immediately followed by a steal and assist from Green for a Flanigan layup. Auburn’s perimeter offense took a while to find its feet, starting 1-of-9 from the three point line. While still maintaining the lead, the Tigers still struggled to find some offense shooting 8-of-20 from the field 10 minutes into the half.
After the 10 minute mark, Auburn seemed to find its rhythm after Green Jr. made his first of the night, immediately followed by a three from junior Chris Moore to give the Tigers an 11-point lead. Less than two minutes later, Green Jr. put up two three-point jumpers back to back to further advance the lead. The Bulldogs, still not finding their momentum in Neville Arena, fell into an 18-point deficit to end the half down 42-24.
The Bulldogs opened up scoring for the second half with a three-point shot as they began to find their energy, however, they were still down by 16. As soon as the Bulldogs seemed to be getting comfortable, the Tigers took the lead and ran with it. After a jumper from Johnson and Broome, followed by freshman Tre Donaldson’s first points of the night, Auburn held a significant lead, 70-47.
As the second half of the game was coming to a close, the Tigers had a field day. Starting with a three from Johnson, it was soon followed by dunks from both Flanigan and junior Dylan Cardwell. Thanks to assists from Green Jr. and a jump shot from senior Lior Berman, the Tigers were feeling good.
“We played them in early January and that night they were better than us. We play them a month or so later and we were better than them," Pearl said. "That’s a good sign, I think it says our team’s improving.”
Next up, Auburn heads to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the now-No. 2 ranked Volunteers, fresh off an upset loss to Florida. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CST.
“The guys and myself had to come out and put on a show today in order to prepare for that game,” Broome said. “Now we’re getting our eyes on Tennessee.”
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Alexa Gardner is a sophomore at Auburn, majoring in exercise science. From Birmingham, Ala., she started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.