A pair of 15-point performances gave Auburn the winning formula it needed to atone for Tuesday’s loss to Colorado. Head coach Bruce Pearl admitted that his team played a sloppy first half, rife with turnovers and missed opportunities.
However, the Tigers (2-1, 0-0) proved too much for the Eagles (1-2, 0-0) defensively. Auburn amassed nine blocks in a game that continually pulled in their favor as the game progressed.
Senior Cinmeon Bowers and JUCO transfer T.J. Dunans each contributed 15 points apiece. Most of Bowers scoring came off free throws (9-13). Meanwhile, Dunans shot an efficient 5-7 from the field, including 1-2 from beyond the arch. Bowers also proved himself on the defensive end of the ball with 13 rebounds (all defensive). He added two blocks and a couple of steals as well.
“I just tried to put the last two games behind me because I didn’t play well,” Bowers said. “I didn’t want to dwell in the past. I just had to move on.”
“I try to do whatever is needed for my team to win, whether it’s crashing the boards, locking up on defense or blocking shots,” Dunans said. “I will do whatever it takes to win.”
With his performance, Bowers achieved his first double-double of the year. Bowers had not recorded a double-double since February 7 against Ole Miss. The SEC’s leading returner in double-doubles (14 last year) had gone on a drought of 13 games without double digits in two offensive categories.
As a team, Auburn shot 49% from the field and held Georgia Southern to 31% shooting. The Tigers also got Bryce Brown back after the guard was suspended for NCAA violations. Brown logged just six minutes, but scored a quick 11 points on 4-5 shooting. Speaking of effective guard play, Kareem Canty added 14 points in the big win for the Tigers.
“That’s probably the best we’ve played defensively so far. Obviously, Georgia Southern got tired in the second half, but still we contested shots,” Pearl said. “We played well as a team defensively.
Auburn gets a week off before hosting Northwestern State (0-3, 0-0) next Friday, Nov. 27.