The No. 19 Auburn Tigers (8-1) played game one of two of their west coast swing against the USC Trojans (9-3 Pac-12: 2-0). The Tigers would start their trip on the wrong foot, losing 74-71, due in part to having 20+ margins in the turnovers, and fouls portion of the stat sheet.
"I thought we played better tonight," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "We gave ourselves a chance."
Point leaders for the Tigers were Johni Broome and Tre Donaldson, who had 16 and 12 respectfully.
"I've worked my tail off, I've waited for my opportunity," Donaldson said. "At the end of the day I give all glory to God."
Broome and Donaldson were also the foul leaders tonight both fouling out. Along with K.D. Johnson’s four, Auburn would have a total of 25 fouls on the night.
Auburn’s bench would prove to be a big help tonight scoring 34 of the Tigers 71 points, bosting their already impressive 30.7 bench points per game. Helping produce the 34 points was the aforementioned Tre Donaldson, and Allen Flanigan who scored nine.
The Trojans seemed to have a pickpocket’s hand tonight with a total of 13 steals, leading to the Tigers having a total of 23 turnovers, and the Trojans capitalizing with 23 points of those turnovers.
"The real shift in the second half was when USC was pressing us and we turned the ball over a couple times attacking pressure," Pearl said. "Usually, that makes us better. I'm disappointed that we didn't do a better job there."
Despite the final score, Auburn was leading 39-35 at the half, thanks in large part to a field goal percentage of 53%, only dropping a small bit when at the final buzzer as the Tigers finished 47% from the field.
Auburn would go 8-23 from beyond the arc with Donaldson, and Zep Jasper being the only two Tigers who were able to make multiple.
Points leading for the Trojans was Boogie Ellis who had 28, also the only USC player with multiple threes. In total USC went 4-13 from beyond the arc.
The stat the Tigers will be eager to point to is the rebounding category, with the Tigers outrebounding USC 32-19. Johni Broome was the rebounding leader with eight.
"It's a stepping stone," Broome said. "We've been emphasizing that the whole year. We've seen we can do it, now we've just got to be consistent with it."
The Tigers have one more game of the west coast swing which will be a date in Seattle against the Washington Huskies this Wednesday December 21st at 8:00pm.