Already having hammered a Power Five opponent, Indiana State hopes to do it again Thursday as it takes on Auburn in the first round of the Gildan Charleston Classic in South Carolina. The Sycamores pounded in-state rival Indiana by 21 points in their opener, but they’ll face a tough task trying to slow down an Auburn team that hit triple digits in a season-opening win over Norfolk State.
Auburn has faced plenty of turmoil leading up the season, with associate coach Chuck Person indicted on federal fraud charges and the program under a full-blown investigation, but was impressive in a 102-74 season-opening victory. “I don’t know what can happen,” forward Horace Spencer told reporters. “There’s a whole bunch of might-bes and maybes. You just don’t know what’s going to happen next week. Whatever happens is going to have to happen. We’re just going to have to focus on what we can control.” The Sycamores are trying for back-to-back wins against Power Five opponents for the first time since the 2012 Diamondhead Classic, where they beat Ole Miss and Miami (Fla.) in consecutive games. Indiana State has not started 2-0 since winning its first five contests in 2011-12.
TV: 11:30 a.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT AUBURN (1-0): The Tigers had five double-digit scorers in their opener, with streaky guard Bryce Brown leading the way with 31. That’s a frightening thought for future opponents, considering forward Danjel Purifoy and center Austin Wiley – the team’s No. 2 and No. 4 scorers a season ago – are being held out indefinitely in relation to the investigation. Presbyterian transfer Desean Murray filled in well in the frontcourt against Norfolk State, collecting 13 points and seven rebounds in his debut with the Tigers.
ABOUT INDIANA STATE (1-0): The Sycamores were a blistering 17-for-26 from 3-point range against Indiana, which probably isn’t sustainable. They do have a couple of sharpshooters, though, in Brenton Scott and Jordan Barnes, who combined to go 11-for-16 from beyond the arc in the opener. Scott is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in program history with 214 career treys and was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week after pouring in 24 points against the Hoosiers.
1. Auburn has scored in triple digits four times under coach Bruce Pearl after going 339 consecutive games without topping 100 points.
2. Auburn G Mustapha Heron has scored in double figures in 32 of his 33 career games, including a 10-point effort against Norfolk State.
3. Indiana State is 80-9 when holding opponents to 63 points or fewer under eighth-year coach Greg Lansing.
PREDICTION: Auburn 81, Indiana State 79