Auburn, Ala. - December 12, 2019
Auburn defeats the North Carolina State Wolfpack 79-73.
It wasn't pretty, but the Tigers were able to come away with a win in their biggest game of the year so far. It was a physical contest, with three players fouling out in total in the game. The Tigers even got to shoot 36 free throws, a testimony to the amount of fouls the Tigers had to endure.
The Tigers were only able to hit 23 of their free throws, which helped keep the Wolfpack in the game late into the contest. Missing free throws seems to be a trend for the Tigers lately.
The Tigers backcourt of Jayvon McCormick and Samir Doughty combined for 38 points. Doughty scored 24 of those points along with a strong night behind-the-arc, hitting three of his five three point attempts. The Wolfpack's backcourt also had a great night, combining for 38 points also.
The Tigers and Wolfpack were even in most categories at the end of the game, but the Tigers got to shoot 16 more free throws than the Wolfpack, which would end up being the difference in the game.
The Tigers defense has been the key to their success this year, and tonight was no different. "We've got to be a great defensive team to win," said Doughty. "We're not as great of a scoring team this year, honestly - and we know that.
The Tigers were able to avenge their loss last year to the Wolfpack. "Last year's team couldn't beat this team," said Pearl. "This year's team did." This Auburn team this year plays a lot different than last years team did. The Tigers play a lot slower on offense and don't have as many shooters as they did last year. "Auburn basketball is not going to be as pretty this year," said Pearl.
The Tigers move to 10-0 on the year, their best start since the 1998-1999 season. It will be tough for the Tigers to match that teams 17-0 start, but they are one step closer after tonight's win.