EditorsNote: fixes “Samir” in second graf
Jared Harper and Chuma Okeke scored 20 points each and helped lead a 3-pointer onslaught as No. 11 Auburn opened the season with a 101-58 rout of visiting South Alabama on Tuesday night.
Harper made 6 of 10 3-point attempts, Okeke made 3 of 5, Bryce Brown made 4 of 9 in scoring 12 points, Samir Doughty made 2 of 3 in scoring 14 points and Malik Dunbar made 2 of 5 in scoring 16.
Anfernee McLemore was the only Tiger who reached double figures without making a 3-pointer, finishing with 11 points despite missing his only two 3-point attempts. Auburn made 18 of 38 3-point tries.
The Tigers, who won 26 games and the SEC regular-season title on the way to their first NCAA Tournament berth in 15 years last season, made a school-record 324 3-pointers last season, and they return players who combined to make 247 of those shots.
Last season, the Jaguars led the Sun Belt Conference in 3-point defense (30.5 percent), sixth-best in the country.
The Tigers made 12 of 17 3-point attempts (70.6 percent) in building a 19-point halftime lead, and they didn’t slow down.
Harper made three early 3-pointers as Auburn built the lead to 32 less than six minutes into the second half.
Rodrick Sikes made 5 of 12 3-point shots and scored 25 points to lead South Alabama, which was playing its first game under new coach Richie Riley. Josh Ajayi added 10 points.
Auburn was hot from the opening tip, scoring the first eight points of the game and building from there.
Harper, Doughty and Brown each made a 3-pointer and the lead quickly reached 17-4.
Okeke made three consecutive 3-pointers during a spurt that increased the lead to 32-7.
Brown made a 3-pointer as the Tigers matched their biggest lead of the half at 41-14.
The Jaguars started to make a move as Sykes scored 10 points during a 14-4 run.
Auburn rebuilt the lead to 22 before Sykes made a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to cut the deficit to 52-33 at halftime.
—Field Level Media