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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn looking to win Legends Classic for second time in program history

<p>KD Johnson (#0) against AUM at Neville Arena on November 1 2023</p>

KD Johnson (#0) against AUM at Neville Arena on November 1 2023

Coming off a win against Southeastern Louisiana, the 1-1 Tigers look to continue adding to the win column in Brooklyn, New York. The Tigers are featured in the Legends Classic tournament for the second time in program history, where they won it back in 2019. They first face Notre Dame and depending on the outcome of their game, they will play either Oklahoma State or St. Bonaventure. 

Looking ahead to Auburn’s first game, it plays its first ever matchup against 1-1 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have a first-year head coach in Micah Shrewsberry, and are coming off a loss against Western Carolina, in which they were favored in.

The key in shutting down Notre Dame is by limiting its impressive one-two punch in Markus Burton and Carey Booth. Together, the two are the highest-scoring freshman duo in the nation, both averaging 15 or more points per game. 

Notre Dame has averaged 65.5 points in its two games and has allowed 67 points per game. The Fighting Irish have a .441 field goal percentage and a .256 three-point field goal percentage, ranked 13th and 14th in the ACC, respectively. 

Last time the Fighting Irish were in the Legends Classic Tournament was in 2016, and they went 2-0 to win the tournament. They are looking to replicate this success with their young core and new head coach. 

Depending on if Auburn has success or not against Notre Dame, it will face off against the winner or loser between Oklahoma State and St. Bonaventure. 

Oklahoma State (1-1) is coming off a win against Sam Houston, where it matched a school record with 17 3-pointers. The Cowboys have faced Auburn four times in their history, where they have split the four meetings. The Tigers have lost their last two meetings to the Cowboys, most recently losing in January 2016 in a 74-63 contest.

Auburn will have to keep OSU’s two star guards in check in Bryce Thompson and Javon Small. Thompson is a senior, who was the Cowboys' leading scorer last year averaging 11.2 points per game and averages 18 points in his two contests this year. Small is a junior who had 16 points in his one game he played against Sam Houston, coming off a season-ending injury last year. 

OSU averages 72 points per game and gives up 67 points per game through two games this year. The Cowboys have a .442 field goal percentage and a .393 three-point field goal percentage, so limiting defending the perimeter will be crucial to Auburn’s success. 

Previously, the Cowboys were in the Legends Classic Tournament in 2017 where they lost in the semifinals to No. 16 Texas A&M, looking to change that this year. 

Finally, 1-1 St. Bonaventure makes its debut in the Legends Classic Tournament. They are coming off a close loss to Canisius, losing 70-67. 

If Auburn and St. Bonaventure played, this would mark the second ever match between the two programs in its long histories. The last time they played was in 1967, in which the Bonnies won 77-73. 

In their last two seasons, the Bonnies are 6-3 against power conference opponents, looking to replicate this success in a tournament with all power conference foes. 

Containing St. Bonaventure’s star guard, Charles Pride, will be a significant factor to Auburn’s success. Pride averages a team high of 18.5 points per game and a team high in rebounds, grabbing eight boards per game. 

The Bonnies average 70 points per game and give up 69.5 points per game. They shoot .431% from the floor, with a .294 three-point shooting percentage. In their first game of the season against Longwood, the Bonnies were outrebounded by 15, so expect Johni Broome to have a big day rebounding the ball if the two meet. 

Auburn tips off against Notre Dame at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Depending on the outcome of its game against Notre Dame, Auburn will face either Oklahoma State or St. Bonaventure at the Barclays Center at either 3:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. CST. The championship will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and the consolation game will be broadcasted on ESPNU. 

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Tyler Cox | Sports Writer

Tyler Cox is a sophomore from Atlanta majoring in journalism. He joined The Plainsman in fall 2023.

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