Auburn, AL- Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers opened the contest on a 22-1 run and led by as much as 28 points, defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 79-56 on Wednesday night. They continue to perform well in must win games to maintain their postseason position.
Auburn was led by 6-3 senior guard Bryce Brown with 18 points. Brown finished 6-of-10, including 5-of-8 from distance, making a variety of catch and shoot shots, as well as a stationary shot off the dribble. Junior 6-7 center Anfernee McLemore added 13 points and six rebounds, with two blocks. McLemore made 2-of-3 from deep, all of which were catch and shoot attempts, and found wide open dunks on two slip screens as well as a give and go. 6-8 forward Chuma Okeke had a solid all -around game, displaying playmaking forward abilities. He scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting (3-5 3PT) and also added four rebounds, a team leading five assists, three blocks and a steal. Malik Dunbar made a rare start for the Tigers and scored all eight of his points early in the first half, making two early catch and shoot threes (2-5 3PT), as well as an alley-oop dunk during the Tigers opening run. Auburn finished the night 17-of-33 (51.1%) on three-pointers.
The Razorbacks were led by freshman sharpshooter Isaiah Joe, with 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting, including from 4-of-14 from three-point range. Joe struggled early in the first half, but made two late catch and shoot threes during the final four minutes. Both of his second half three-point makes were also of the catch and shoot variety. All other Arkansas shooters were a combined 0-of-12 from distance. Projected first round draft pick Daniel Gafford was the only other Arkansas player in double figures, with 10 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block. Gafford finished 4-of-5 from the field and 2-of-5 from the charity stripe. Auburn was successful with several different looks against him, providing help defense from the four spot all night, and using Okeke instead of a center to front Gafford and deny the ball for much of the second half. Arkansas struggled offensively at every spot, shooting 32.8 percent from the field, 15.4 percent from three and 58.3 percent from the free-throw line.