Brown’s scoring spurt leads No. 14 Auburn past Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Auburn guard Bryce Brown said he fired up a couple of long-range shots Wednesday night that likely had his coaches “shaking their heads.”
“But when I make it, they don’t tend to be mad about it,” Brown said with a smile.
He made plenty against Texas A&M and scored all but two of his 22 points in the first half as No. 14 Auburn cruised to an 85-66 victory.
The Tigers (13-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) won on the road for the first time in league play this season. They dominated the Aggies (7-8, 1-3) from the start and never looked back.
Brown scored 18 consecutive points for the Tigers — and outscored the Aggies 18-10 by himself during that span — late in the first half to stake Auburn to a double-digit lead it didn’t relinquish.
Brown began the stretch with a three-point play after he was fouled in the lane on a layup, and his next 15 points came on 3-point shots.
“I thought he didn’t really take that many bad looks. He worked to get open,” Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said.
Jared Harper had 17 points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds for Auburn. Anfernee McLemore added 13 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Chuma Okeke had 10 points and seven rebounds. Austin Wiley grabbed a career-high 12 boards.
“Everything they do well, we don’t do well, so it was a tough matchup for us,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.
Auburn overwhelmed Texas A&M in second-chance points (20-8), points off turnovers (18-10), offensive rebounds (20-7) and bench points (27-5).
“This win will work wonders for us,” Brown said. “It will help us at home, too, because we know if we can get the job done away from our place, we can definitely get it done at our place. We just want to keep getting as many road wins as we can because that will be the separator between us and other teams in the SEC.”
Savion Flagg and Wendell Mitchell each had 22 points to lead the Aggies.
“We got sped up at the beginning, and we allowed them to control the tempo,” Mitchell said.
Auburn: The Tigers improved to 4-3 away from Auburn Arena. Before the game, Pearl said they needed to play better on the road if they intend to “have the kind of year we want to have.” The lopsided victory Wednesday should go a long way toward building confidence away from home, especially with the Aggies coming off a last-second victory at Alabama on Saturday.
Texas A&M: Any notion the Aggies were back on the right track following TJ Starks’ buzzer-beater at Alabama was quickly swept aside in what is expected to be a rebuilding year under Kennedy.
While the one-sided road victory was nice for the Tigers, they have a much better chance of rising in the rankings with a strong showing Saturday against Kentucky.
McLemore timed his jump perfectly and put his hand on top of the ball as Flagg tried a short jumper in the paint early in the second half. McLemore’s extended block drew “aaahs” from the Aggies crowd with Auburn leading 57-42 at the time.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Aggies entered averaging 3.4 more rebounds per game than their opponents, but Auburn claimed a 50-33 advantage on the boards.
HE SAID IT
“We thought at times we were the Harlem Globetrotters, trying to dribble instead of making hard cuts and guys getting open and passing the ball. I thought we got sloppy.” — Kennedy on his team’s play.
Auburn returns home to face No. 12 Kentucky on Saturday.
Texas A&M stays at home to play Missouri on Saturday.