Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Men’s Basketball team traveled down to Tampa, FL this evening to take on the South Florida Bulls at Amalie Arena. Auburn got off to a slow start, as it took five minutes for Auburn to come up with a basket. Auburn finally got on the board thanks to a three-pointer from K.D. Johnson. Auburn continued to struggle throughout the first half. The defensive play was less than stellar as well. The No. 21 Tigers trailed 33-26 at halftime. Jaylin Williams was Auburn’s leading scorer in the first half with six points, Jabari Smith had five.
Auburn stepped it up defensively at the beginning of the second half. However, it also took a little while to get things rolling on offense. With thirteen minutes remaining in the game, Auburn was only shooting 30% from the field. Auburn was finally able to take the lead for the first time 10 minutes into the second half. Auburn gained some momentum in the final minutes, but it did not stop the Bulls from playing hard. Auburn would end up pulling it out by a score of 58-52.
Auburn’s leading scorer tonight was Zeb Jasper with thirteen points. Jabari Smith was Auburn’s rebounding leader with 10. Wendell Greene Jr and Devan Cambridge led Auburn in assists with three apiece.
The leading scorer tonight for South Florida was Caleb Murphy with 19 points. Murphy also led the Bulls in rebounds with six. Murphy also led his team in assists with four.
The Auburn player present in the post-game press conference tonight was KD Johnson. KD was asked what adjustments were made at half time, and he answered, “Coach told us to be more physical”. When asked what part of the game helped Auburn win the most, KD said, “rebounding was key.”
“It wasn’t about chewing them out, it was about talking through what needed to get done."
When asked about his thoughts on Jabari Smith’s performance tonight, Pearl said, “He doesn’t force things and he’s not afraid of the moment”. The last question he answered was “What are your thoughts on the performance of Zeb Jasper? Pearl answered with, “He was terrific, so valuable and consistent”.
Auburn will be back in action against UConn in the “Battle 4 Atlantis” this Wednesday at 1:30 pm. If they win, they will face off against Loyola Chicago or Michigan State on Thursday. If the Tigers find success there, they will take on Arizona State, Baylor, Syracuse, or VCU on Friday.