Auburn reverses sloppy start, beats Northwestern St. 119-81
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) For the first couple of minutes, Auburn looked to be suffering the drowsy effects of too much Thanksgiving turkey.
The Tigers (3-1) began the game by turning the ball over seven times in five minutes, as Northwestern State (1-5) jumped out to an early lead.
But over the final 35 minutes, Auburn had a hard time doing anything wrong en route to a 119-81 win Friday night at the Auburn Arena, the fourth-most points the Tigers have scored in program history.
''I like how hard the kids play, I like how well they play together,'' Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. ''I do like our potential.''
T.J. Dunans led the Tigers with 20 points - all of which he scored in the second half - to help erase a sloppy start.
He began the game by shooting 0-for-1 with four turnovers and a pair of fouls in the first half, but finished with a torrid 8-for-11, including 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point line.
''I've been working on (3-pointers), that's one of the main things I've been working on with my shot, trying to get it consistent,'' Dunans said. ''The shots fell tonight, and I was feeling good, so I just kept taking them.''
The Tigers as a whole shot a scorching 53 percent from beyond the arc - compared to Northwestern State's 27 percent - to put the Demons to rest in the second half, using a 29-9 run over five minutes when it seemed the home team couldn't miss.
The 17 3-pointers Auburn drained are the second-most in program history.
Cinmeon Bowers added 16 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year, and Tyler Harris contributed 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
Kareem Canty, who came into the game tied for fifth in the SEC in scoring with 19.8 points per game, notched his first double-double of the year as well, with 17 points and 10 assists - and was four rebounds away from a triple-double.
Northwestern State was led by Zeek Woodley - the nation's leading returning scorer at 22.2 points per game - and his 29 points, but the Demons couldn't keep a red-hot Auburn offense from running them out of the gym.
Devonte Hall added 15 points for Northwestern State, and Sabri Thompson scored 12.
In addition to its usual scorers, freshman Bryce Brown entered the regular rotation for the first time for Auburn, and poured in 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
''He can really score,'' Pearl said. ''And he's working hard defensively. I think Bryce has got really good upside, I was really pleased with his effort.''
The Tigers had at least five players in double-figures for the first time since February 7, 2015, when Auburn fell to Ole Miss.
The win was a measure of revenge for Auburn, which fell to Northwestern State the last time the two teams met, in 2013.
Auburn: After four consecutive home games to open the season, the Tigers will only have one in the month of December, against Mercer on Dec. 15.
Northwestern State: Demons coach Mike McConathy is now 1-1 against Auburn, after winning his last matchup against the Tigers, 119-92, two seasons ago.
Auburn guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen suffered a dislocated right shoulder in the first half and didn't return. He has battled injuries to both shoulders during his three years at Auburn, and will consult with Dr. James Andrews on Saturday to determine the full diagnosis.
Auburn plays at Coastal Carolina Dec. 2.
Northwestern State plays at Arkansas Dec. 1.