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Hot-shooting Tigers cruise to comfortable victory over Bradley

Mark Murphy
5–6 minutes

 

Auburn took command early and was never threatened after that on a season-best shooting night for the Tigers during an 85-64 basketball victory over the Bradley Braves on Tuesday night at the Cancun Challenge in Mexico. For the first time this season five Auburn players finished a game scoring in double figures.

Auburn made 56.4 percent of its field goals to make the contest very difficult for the Braves . The Tigers were 8-17 from three-point range, 15-20 at the foul line and finished plus nine in rebounding margin to improve to 5-0.

On Wednesday night Coach Bruce Pearl’s team will play 5-0 Northwestern in the championship game after the Wildcats improved to 5-0 with a 66-52 victory over Liberty on Tuesday night. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CST with television coverage on the CBS Sports Network.

Johni Broome, who missed the previous game with an injury, just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Wendell Green also scored 14 while adding six assists. "It was good to be back on the court with my brothers," said Broome, a first-year Tiger who transferred in from Morehead State. "I got off to a fast start. My teammates put me in position to make plays."

The Tigers had success scoring with their halfcourt offense. "These last couple days in practice down here we have really been running our stuff really fast, trying to be more precise in our passing, our movements, executing a little bit better," Broome pointed out. "We run in transition a lot, but if our half-court offense can get betterwe are a dangerous team like you saw tonight.”

Allen Flanigan added 12 points and a strong defensive effort against Connor Hickman, who started the game with hot shooting, but wasn’t a major factor after that finishing with 15 points after making three early treys. Pearl said that Flanigan came in and matched up physically vs. the Bradley player as Auburn built the lead to 15 points in the opening period.

Auburn got 11 points off the bench from K.D. Johnson and 11 points from starter Jaylin Williams, who added four rebounds and three assists.

"Our bench was really good and our starters started well," Pearl said. "I thought Coach (Wes) Flanigan and Coach (Chad) Pruitt did an outstanding with the preparation. We had some difficulty guarding some of those guys one-on-one. Some of the guards drove us downhill and got to the rim too easily. That is going to be an issue for us–our guards staying in front–but overall it was a good effort."

Bradley dropped to 3-2 on a night it made 24-56 field goals, 8-24 threes and 8-13 free throws.

The Tigers jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead as Williams hit a pair of treys. Auburn kept the lead in double figures most of the first half and led 45-32 at halftime.

Williams scored 10 points in the half while Green added seven. Johnson,  Broome and Cardwell scored six points apiece.

AU made 16-28 field goals (57.1 percent) in the first half while the Braves connected on 12-26 shots (46.2 percent). Auburn made 6-13 treys and 5-6 free throws in the period while Bradley made 5-14 treys and 3-6 free throws.

Each team pulled in 13 rebounds in the first half and the Tigers finished the period with six turnovers, two less than Bradley.

The Tigers scored the first seven points of the second half and built the lead to as many as 26 points as they continued to shoot well throughout the contest except for several brief stretches.

"Bradley was short-handed tonight," Pearl pointed out. "They had a couple guys out. They are going to have a good year in that league (Missouri Valley Conference). Bradley will finish in the top three or four in the Valley. They will compete for that championship with Drake and a couple of other teams so it is a good win."

11462335.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offset-y0.50&width=620&height=320 Wendell Green drives to the basket vs. Bradley. (Photo: Steven Leonard)

Worth Noting: A key to Bradley’s success is normally finishing with fewer turnovers than opponents. Each team had 13.

Stat of the Game: The Tigers made 31 of 55 field goal attempts. "I thought we shot it well," Pearl said. "I thought most of it was in rhythm. When we ran offense and got the right spacing we got good looks and took care of the ball." The coach said the Tigers weren't nearly as effective when not running their plays and said he would have like to have seen more offensive rebounds from his team. "We didn't dominate like I think we could have. We only got eight offensive rebounds, but we shot it pretty well."

Tigers vs. Braves: Auburn is 3-0 all-time vs. Bradley and improved to 4-1 all-time in games played in the Cancun Challenge.

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Takeaways from Auburn Basketball’s win vs. Bradley

Jeremy Robuck
2–3 minutes

Auburn traveled to Cancun, Mexico for a two game tournament. The Tigers got off to a hot start and never really looked back. You could even say that Auburn put on an offensive clinic. Team chemistry on the offensive end looked to be at a season high as perhaps the guys are starting to find some rhythm together. Auburn will play the winner of Northwestern and Liberty tomorrow night. Here are a few takeaways from tonights game

This team is capable of shooting well

Auburn lit up Bradley in the first half scoring 45 points while shooting 83% from the free throw line, 58% from the floor, and 46% from three. The Tigers got out and had fun in the sun down in Mexico. It felt like they were loose coming off the beach and water park. Shooting is about rhythm. You can believe these guys shoot better in practice, but shooting can be very mental. It is also contagious. Tiger fans need to hope this team finds momentum in the shooting department as the season progresses.

Wendell Green Jr. is becoming elite

Green Jr. is evolving before our eyes. It feels like he is a different player, and may be becoming top tier floor general. We saw the talent last year. Some fans get frustrated the way Coach Pearl let’s his point guards shoot out of their slumps and make mistakes. It’s like he keeps pushing and waiting. He invests and believes as trusts it will pay off. Coach Pearl was right about Greene Jr. He helped Jared Harper become a near super hero. He may have another one. Coach Pearl knows he has to have elite guard play to get far in March. Green Jr. may have bad moments and shots like Harper did, but he’s becoming a guy who can take us far.

This team is versatile

Who knows what this team will become. Tonight, Chance played shooting guard, Jaylin Williams played center, and Chris Moore played power forward. We have athletes. This is a real Bruce Pearl team. It has length, versatility, athleticism, and enormous potential. They are streaky and undisciplined at times, but when shots are falling this Auburn team can beat anyone.

Finally here are some highlights and Twitter reactions from the game

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SEC Basketball Power Rankings: Texas A&M falls after rough week, Auburn and Alabama continue to impress

Adam Spencer
7–9 minutes

Welcome to Feast Week, y’all!

Arkansas is out in Hawaii competing in the Maui Invitational. LSU is at the Cayman Islands Classic. Auburn is at the Cancun Challenges. Tennessee is at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Alabama and Florida are involved in the Phil Knight events in Oregon.

It’s a great week to be a college hoops fan! Early season tournaments are a ton of fun to watch and, more importantly, there’s basketball on TV all day, every day.

So where do things stand as we approach Thanksgiving? Here’s a look at the updated SEC power rankings:

14. Vanderbilt (2-2 overall, Last Week: 14)

The Commodores got back on track this past week with back-to-back wins. But victories over Temple (in overtime) and Morehead State won’t exactly move the needle on this squad. A game against Saint Mary’s on Wednesday is going to be a very difficult one for Jerry Stackhouse and company.

13. South Carolina (2-3, LW: 11)

In the past week, the Gamecocks have lost to Davidson and Furman. At this point, even Friday’s matchup against SC Upstate in Charleston is no easy task. Outside of GG Jackson, this team doesn’t have much scoring power. It’s going to be a long year for the Gamecocks.

12. Georgia (4-1, LW: 13)

Georgia picked up a decent win on Monday night in the Sunshine Slam over Saint Joseph’s, 66-53. The problem? After taking a 38-15 lead into halftime, the Bulldogs were outscored by 10 in the second half. Mike White is going to have to stress that games are 40 minutes long to this team moving forward.

11. Texas A&M (3-2, LW: 5)

No one has had a worse week than the Aggies. Buzz Williams’ team has dropped matchups to Murray State and Colorado. The loss to the Buffaloes was a blowout affair. After getting to No. 24 in the AP Poll, it seems the Aggies took their foot off the gas pedal. We’ll see if Texas A&M can regroup as the season goes on.

10. Ole Miss (4-0, LW: 10)

I’m going to mention this about a few teams moving forward in these rankings, so I’ll make a blanket statement now. You don’t move up by leaps and bounds in these rankings without some halfway decent wins against somewhat tough competition. Ole Miss won’t face a particularly tough foe until Thursday, when the Rebels take on Stanford in the ESPN Events Invitational in Florida. If they manage to win that game, they’re certainly a team to keep an eye on as more difficult competition looms in December.

9. Florida (3-1, LW: 12)

The Gators lost to Florida Atlantic recently, which was one of the worst losses of the young SEC season. But then they bounced back to earn a comeback win against a cratering Florida State program. Still, trailing 43-26 at halftime against an 0-4 Seminole squad wasn’t a good look. The Gators will play at the Phil Knight Legacy tournament in Oregon this week. That’ll be a good proving ground for Todd Golden’s team.

8. Mississippi State (5-0, LW: 9)

Mississippi State has jumped out to an impressive 5-0 record in Chris Jans’ first year at the helm of the program. On Monday, in their first game of the Fort Myers Tip Off, the Bulldogs earned a thrilling 58-55 win over Marquette. Now, a final matchup against Utah awaits on Wednesday. It still won’t be a signature win, but it would be the best victory yet for the Bulldogs.

7. Mizzou (5-0, LW: 7)

D’Moi Hodge, a Cleveland State transfer, has become a star for the Tigers. He scored 30 points against SIUE on Tuesday and added 18 more against Mississippi Valley State on Sunday. That earned him SEC Player of the Week honors. Here’s a look at his highlight reel from the SIUE game:

If he can keep up that level of play offensively, Mizzou has a superstar in the making. At 5-0, the Tigers currently have the most wins in the SEC (tied with Mississippi State). Dennis Gates is off to a hot start in Columbia!

6. LSU (4-0, LW: 😎

LSU is playing in the Cayman Islands Classic this week. If KJ Williams keeps playing the way he did against Illinois State on Monday, the Tigers might just earn themselves a trophy to start the year. Here’s a look at his stat line against Illinois State:

There isn’t a ton of competition for the Tigers in this early tournament, but it will be a good building block for Matt McMahon and company as they learn an entirely new system with new players.

5. Tennessee (2-1, LW: 6)

Thanksgiving in the Bahamas. Not a bad way to spend the holiday for Rick Barnes and company. The Vols open the festivities at the Battle 4 Atlantis against Butler on Wednesday. If the Vols can advance to the final of the prestigious Feast Week tournament, Kansas could be waiting. That would be a huge confidence and résumé booster for the Vols.

4. Kentucky (3-2, LW: 1)

Kentucky has now lost to Michigan State and Gonzaga. Those are quality teams, yes, but John Calipari isn’t making the millions of dollars he makes every year to keep things close against NCAA Tournament-caliber foes. He’s getting paid to lead the Wildcats to Final Fours and national titles. He needs to figure out what buttons to press with this experienced squad moving forward or there are going to be plenty of angry fans in Lexington.

3. Alabama (4-0, LW: 4)

Alabama is another team that will see its level of competition upped this week. Starting on Thanksgiving Day, the Tide will compete in the Phil Knight Invitational in Oregon. Their first opponent? No. 12 Michigan State. A win in that matchup would potentially send the Tide to a semifinal game against No. 20 UConn. A second victory could vault the No. 18 Alabama squad into a Sunday title bout against No. 1 North Carolina. What a run that will be for Nate Oats’ crew!

2. Auburn (4-0, LW: 3)

The Tigers have been torching the nets so far this year as they continue to prove they’re one of the deepest teams in the country. It hasn’t been against the best competition thus far, but that has a chance to improve a bit this week in Cancun. The Tigers will take on Bradley on Tuesday and, should they win, they’ll face the winner of Liberty-Northwestern on Wednesday with a chance to win a trophy.

1. Arkansas (4-0, LW: 2)

The Razorbacks got off to a great start in Maui, earning an 80-54 beatdown victory over Louisville. It was a coming out party for Anthony Black, who had the best game of his freshman season thus far. He scored 26 points, dished out 6 assists and added 3 rebounds and 2 steals. He also made 3 of his 5 3-point attempts:

We’ll see if he can continue to dominate, as Arkansas doesn’t have to wait long for its next test. The Hogs, No. 9 in this week’s AP Poll, take on No. 10 Creighton on Tuesday. That’ll be a big-time matchup for Eric Musselman’s crew.

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Season-best shooting night propels No. 13 Auburn past Bradley - The Auburn Plainsman

 
4–5 minutes

The shooting struggles that plagued Auburn during the season’s first two weeks seemed like a distant memory on Tuesday night, as the No. 13 Tigers made eight 3-pointers and shot a season-high 56.4% from the field in an 85-64 win over the Bradley Braves in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge.

“I thought we shot it well,” said head coach Bruce Pearl. “We got good looks. We took care of the ball.”

Auburn utilized a balanced scoring attack to overcome the short-handed Braves. Five separate Tigers reached double digits in scoring, led by Wendell Green Jr. and Johni Broome’s 14 points.

“Every day we come into practice and our facility and our motto is strength in numbers,” Broome said. “Our 11 is better than their seven or eight…Just being able to count on the guy next to you is very, very important.”

Auburn’s points were split nearly evenly between the starters and the bench. 44 points were scored by starters, with 41 bench points for the Tigers.

“Our bench was really good,” Pearl said. “Our starters started well. I thought coach Prewett and coach Flanigan did an outstanding job with the preparation.”

Broome and Jaylin Williams provided early sparks for the Tigers. Williams made a pair of 3-pointers in the game’s first three minutes, setting the tone for the shooting success to come. 

Williams finished with 11 points after a 14-point performance on Friday night, the first time he has scored in double digits in consecutive games since doing so in five straight games — the last four games of the 2020-21 season and the first game of the 2021-22 season.

Broome, who missed Friday’s game against Texas Southern due to injury, scored four of Auburn’s first seven points in his first game action in a week.

“It was good to be back,” Broome said. “I got off to a fast start, my teammates put me in a position to make plays and that’s what I did to get the quick start.”

The Tigers used early success in both halves to pull away from the Braves. Auburn got off to a 12-2 start in the first half and began the second half with a 7-0 run.

“We started very well both halves,” Pearl said. “We started plus-10 and plus-seven. That’s a 17-point margin.”

Despite coming into Tuesday’s contest converting just 25% of its 3-point attempts, ranking among the nation’s worst, Auburn converted a season-best 47.1% of its 3-pointers — making eight of its 17 attempts. Percentage-wise, it was Auburn's best 3-point performance since last season's Vanderbilt game, 12 games ago, when the Tigers hit 3-pointers at a rate of 50%.

In addition to its newfound success behind the arc, Auburn maintained its longstanding presence inside, scoring a season-high 46 points in the paint — its most in 13 games, when the Tigers scored 48 against Texas A&M last season. 

The win brought Auburn’s record to 5-0 — only the second time in Pearl’s tenure, and first since the 2019-20 season, that the Tigers have won their first five games.

Auburn will conclude its trip to Cancun on Wednesday night when the Tigers play for the championship of the Cancun Challenge. Tip-off for Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST and will be nationally televised by CBS Sports Network.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.


Matthew Wallace | Sports Writer

Matthew is a sophomore from Huntsville, Alabama. This is his first year with The Auburn Plainsman.

Twitter: @mattwallaceAU

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Tigers of the Game: Green shines while Broome's return leads Auburn to victory

Taylor Jones
~3 minutes

The No. 16 Auburn Tigers played its’ most complete game of the young season on Tuesday night, defeating Bradley, 85-64 in round one of the Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico.

Auburn shot 56% from the field while limiting a hot-shooting Bradley squad to shooting just 43%. Five Tigers reached double-figures in scoring, led by Wendell Green Jr. and Johni Broome, who scored 14 points each. Allen Flanigan and K.D. Johnson scored 12 and 13 points respectively off the bench, and Jaylin Williams earned his second consecutive double-digit scoring game, picking up 11 points.

Buy Tigers Tickets

The biggest story of the night was Broome’s return to the floor for the Tigers. After missing last Friday’s game against Texas Southern due to precautions from a bone bruise, Broome tied for the team lead in points, while leading the team in rebounds with nine, and blocks with three.

“It was good to be back on the court with my brothers,” Broome said after Auburn’s win. “I got off to a fast start. My teammates put me in a position to make plays, and that’s what I did.”

Broome’s performance was worthy enough to earn two votes from the staff at Auburn Wire for “Tiger of the Game.” Next in line was Green for his efforts in creating points for the Tigers.

Here is a look at how writers Taylor JonesJ.D. McCarthy, and River Wells voted following Auburn’s win over Bradley.

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The Montgomery Advertiser

Green tied Broome with 14 points in Auburn’s win over Bradley, shooting 50% from both the field and from beyond the arc. What seperates Green from Broome, was his ability to create points.  He led the team in assists with six.

USATSI_19439828.jpg

The Montgomery Advertiser

A healthy Johni Broome is a dangerous weapon for the Auburn Tigers. Broome appears to have recovered from his injury, which allowed him to beneficial in many aspects of Auburn’s win.

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John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

In four games this season, Broome has reached double-figures in three of those. Broome reached a season-high in field goal percentage on Tuesday, connecting on 62% of his shots.

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The Montgomery Advertiser

Here is a look at how many Tigers have earned a “Tiger of the Game” vote this season:

Johni Broome 5
Wendell Green Jr. 4
Jaylin Williams 2
Dylan Cardwell 1
Allen Flanigan 1
K.D. Johnson 1
Chris Moore 1
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