The Auburn men’s basketball team took on Lincoln Memorial University in this season’s exhibition game on Friday, November 2. The Tiger student section packed in to cheer on their No. 11 ranked team at home.
Malik Dunbar got the first basket of the game straight from the tipoff. After the Tigers threw up a few sloppy shots, Horace Spencer subbed in to add some height and set the tone for offensive rebounding.
LMU guard Anthony Brown wasn’t afraid to drive into the paint, putting up back-to-back layups early on. He would go on to put up 13 points, second in scoring to No. 00 Cornelius Taylor who had 25.
The home team’s Bryce Brown responded with his first three-point shot of the game at five minutes in, signaling a timeout from LMU. The away team’s Rhondi Hackett came out of the timeout with a three pointer, putting the team at a five-point advantage and forcing head coach Bruce Pearl to a timeout.
Energy for the Tigers picked up after a big block from Chuma Okeke which was followed by two free throws putting Auburn ahead at 18-17. Okeke celebrated a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The home lead was short-lived as the game quickly went to a back and forth battle between the two teams, ended by a three from Bryce Brown, followed by another from Anfernee McLemore.
Both teams had no problem putting up shots but struggled to make them in the first half, Auburn having a field goal percentage of only 34 and Lincoln Memorial at 32 percent. Fouls committed by the away team racked up and auburn took advantage, making 11 of their 15 attempted free throws in the first half.
Auburn’s Jared Harper was fouled with .6 seconds left in the half and made all three of his free shots, ending the half with a home advantage 36-28.
The Tigers came into the second half hot, with back to back shots from McLemore and Harper. This gave Auburn an 11-point lead, their biggest yet of the game. After unsuccessful shooting in the first half, less three-point shots were put up in the second part of the game.
With increased activity in the paint, it was Spencer’s time to shine as he slammed his first dunk of the game in response to a couple baskets by LMU. Spencer would finish the game with a total of 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Railsplitters managed to creep back after some Auburn errors and free throw points, coming within four points of the Tigers. Coach Pearl called another timeout at 52-48 and Harper came out strong with an and one, making the extra point with nine minutes left. The guard led the team in scoring with 22 points.
Auburn managed to keep the lead for the remainder of the game, but it was not an easy feat. Aggressive play in the paint by Spencer and fast paced ball movement from the guards exhausted both teams leading to a signal from Auburn’s Coach Pearl to slow it down with a 10-point lead and three minutes left in the game.
The home team worked its way to a 13-point lead and allowed coach Pearl to utilize his bench in the last minute of the game. The tigers claimed their victory over Lincoln Memorial, 76-62.