CHARLESTON, S.C. – Desean Murray scored 14 points and added a team-high 12 rebounds, while Bryce Brown notched a team-best 15 points as Auburn took down Indiana State in the opening round of the 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic, 83-64.
“I thought the kids executed extremely well,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “We’ve been working on our defense, rebounding and our transition defense, and that’s probably the best defense we’ve played against a good team.”
The Tigers (2-0) held the Sycamores (1-1) to a season-low 64 points on 17-of-56 (30.4 percent) from the floor. It was the first time Auburn held an opponent to fewer than 20 field goals since 2015 when it limited Georgia Southern to just 19 made shots.
“I thought Bryce Brown in particular played well going up against Brenton Scott, who is a dangerous player,” Pearl stated. “Bryce Brown took him and wouldn’t give him to anybody else.”
Scott, who came into the matchup averaging 24 points per game, was held to just three points on 0-of-6 shooting and had three turnovers.
Murray’s double-double marked the first time a player had accomplished the feat since Mustapha Heron did it against Missouri, March 8, 2017.
“It felt really good to get out on the court and just play as hard and good as we did,” Murray said. “The coaches had us prepared and everybody was ready to play. We played great on the defensive end and it all starts with defense.”
Chuma Okeke and Heron contributed 11 points apiece to highlight four players in double-figures. Heron extended his impressive run to the start of his career with his 33rd game with 10-plus points in 34 contests.
Okeke set a new career-high with his 11 points to go along with six boards and a team-high three steals in the 40-minute affair.
Jared Harper added nine points and tied a career-best with seven assists.
The Tigers tallied a season-best nine steals and matched its best mark of the 2017-18 campaign nine blocks.
Auburn controlled the paint as it outscored Indiana State, 38-20, inside the lane.
All nine players that played in the first half were responsible for scoring at least one point and the Tigers raced out to a 48-27 lead at halftime.
Auburn’s largest lead came at the 9:42 mark in the second half following a pair of free throws by Davion Mitchell to make it a 27-point margin at 71-44. The Tigers maintained the lead and went on to take the result, 83-64.
With the win, Auburn has reached the semifinals of the Charleston Classic and will await the winner of the Old Dominion-Temple quarterfinal. Tip time is set for 10 a.m. CT Friday morning with the game being broadcast on ESPN2, 93.9 Tiger FM and on the TuneIn app.
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