Sun, 05 Feb 2023

No. 16 Auburn looking strong heading to South Carolina

Field Level Media
20 Jan 2023, 10:40 GMT+10

No. 16 Auburn will aim for its fifth straight win Saturday afternoon when it travels to Columbia, S.C., to face the South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Tigers (15-3, 5-1 SEC) are coming off Wednesday's 67-49 road victory at LSU, which marked Auburn's first win in Baton Rouge, La., since 2017. Key for Auburn was its defense, which limited LSU to 29.3 percent shooting from the floor and 20 percent from 3-point range.

"Good road win. Great balance," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "To hold them to 49 points on 29 percent shooting, that's pretty spectacular."

Wendell Green Jr. and Jaylin Williams scored 14 points apiece to lead Auburn in scoring. Green had four boards and four assists, while Williams had seven rebounds.

Green has scored double-digit points in six of his last seven games and is averaging 13.6 on the season. Against LSU, Green didn't commit a single turnover in 29 minutes of play and scored five points during a crucial 15-2 run in the second half.

"Wendell Green showed special," Pearl said. "I just think his tempo was really good. He controlled the game. He's running when it's time to run. We're not going too fast, putting guys in bad positions. And he's trusting our stuff."

While Green leads the team in scoring, Johni Broome is second with 12.3 points per game and Williams is third with 10.8. Broome leads Auburn in rebounds with 8.5 per game. Green, Williams and Allen Flanigan have each made at least 20 3-pointers this season.

Auburn is ranked 15th in the KenPom ratings, while South Carolina (8-10, 1-4) has slipped all the way to 240th -- more than 100 spots below any other SEC team (LSU is 106th).

The Gamecocks have lost two in a row since scoring an upset over fading Kentucky. They promptly were drilled by 39 points at home by Texas AM on Saturday and on Tuesday lost to Ole Miss, 70-58. South Carolina shot just 25 percent from beyond the arc and was outrebounded 43-31.

Freshman GG Jackson II led the Gamecocks with 15 points and seven rebounds.

"I think it comes down to aggression," South Carolina coach Lamont Paris said. "We have missed plenty of shots, so it is not for a lack of opportunity out there. ...

"We have to rebound. You have to go do it. Most shots miss. I don't care who you are. Most guys when they shoot, they miss. That is the most common thing that happens in basketball. You have to anticipate, and you have to have a nose for it and you have to want it."

Auburn is 29-19 all-time against South Carolina. The Tigers have won five straight against the Gamecocks.

--Field Level Media

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