Guard Samir Doughty scored 24 points and came up with four steals as No. 12 Auburn outlasted North Carolina State 79-73 Thursday night in Auburn, Ala.
Guard J’Von McCormick added 14 points and center Austin Wiley had three blocks and three steals to go with his 10 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers (10-0), who are off to their best start since the 1998-99 team won its first 17 games.
Guards C.J. Bryce and Markell Johnson each posted double-doubles. Bryce scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Johnson finished with 17 points and 10 assists for the Wolfpack (8-3). Bryce fouled out with 1:39 remaining. Johnson played only 30 minutes because of fouls.
No more than six points separated the two teams in the second half and it was tied at 64-64 before the Tigers closed out the game on a 15-9 burst over the final four minutes.
Doughty’s free throws put the Tigers up 74-66 going into the final minute, and his 3-pointer off an inbounds play gave his team a 77-69 cushion with 25.9 seconds left.
The game was sloppy for much of the night as the two teams, who combined for 47 turnovers in last season’s meeting, committed 35 in this one with the Wolfpack charged with 18.
Scoring streaks by each team marked the first half.
The Tigers overcame a 16-14 deficit by going on a 12-0 run that included 7 consecutive points by guard Jamal Johnson, giving them a 26-16 lead midway through the period.
Then the Wolfpack went on a 17-2 surge over the next 4:17 to take a 33-28 lead, but the Tigers finished the half outscoring the N.C. State 10-4 for a 38-37 lead at the break.
Neither team lit things up with their shooting. The Wolfpack shot 42.9 percent from the field (27 of 63), while the Tigers were a tad better at 44.6 (25 of 56). They also struggled at the free throw line, with the Wolfpack converting just 12 of 20 attempts and the Tigers hitting 23 of 36.
—Field Level Media