EditorsNote: Fixed spelling of “Wiley” in 1st graf, tweaked 3rd graf, corrects Tigers turnovers, minor edits
Guard Samir Doughty scored 20 points, center Austin Wiley was a rebound short of a double-double and No. 24 Auburn survived a turnover-plagued night to beat a stubborn Georgia Southern team 83-74 in its season opener Tuesday night at Auburn.
Wiley, at 6-11 the tallest player on the floor, simply was too much for the Eagles to handle. He made 5 of 7 shots for 13 points, had nine rebounds and blocked a shot despite being limited to just 20 minutes because of fouls.
The visiting Eagles closed to within five points twice over the last eight minutes after falling behind by double digits in the second half, but could get no closer.
Guard Ike Smith and forward Isaiah Crawley scored 16 points each to lead the Eagles.
The Tigers worked their way from a four-point halftime lead to a 13-point cushion 61-48 when the Eagles went scoreless over a nearly three-minute stretch early in the second half. But turnovers continued to plague the Tigers, who went through a four-minute,12-second scoring drought of their own to see their margin shrink to 61-56.
The Tigers ended up with 21 turnovers for the night, but the Eagles also hurt themselves with 11 of their 18 turnovers coming in the second half.
No more than six points separated the two teams in the first half that ended with Auburn up 41-37 on consecutive 3-pointers by freshman guard Devan Cambridge. It was the largest lead of the period for the Tigers, who couldn’t shake the visitors despite shooting 53.2 percent from the field for the period, including 6 of 13 from behind the 3-point arc.
The Tigers were charged with 13 turnovers over the first 20 minutes, however, to just seven for the Eagles.
Georgia Southern’s biggest lead was six points, 19-13, on Crawley’s follow shot with 11:30 remaining in the period. The Eagles finished the first half 14 of 29 from the field despite missing their last two shots.
—Field Level Media