Auburn Uses Big Second Half to defeat Georgia State
Freshman Jared Harper (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)
Head Coach Bruce Pearl said at the beginning of the season, that he did not feel that his team would benefit from playing a “cupcake” like schedule. He wanted Auburn’s non-conference slate to be filled with teams with amazing track records. Georgia State is one of those teams. Auburn used a strong second half to earn their first 2-0 start since the 2011-12 season, as they defeated Georgia State, 83-65. The Tigers and Panthers played a solid, tough first half, as Auburn would only have a five-point lead, 35-30. Freshman Jared Harper, a freshman and Georgia native, played a key role in this game, beginning in the first half. Harper led the team in total points with 8. Auburn only had three successful buckets from beyond the arc, and Harper led the way with two of those. In the first half, 9 of 10 players who saw playing time made a basket. Heading into the second half, Auburn needed a spark. Despite having a 35-30 lead, the Tigers were shooting only 39.3% FG, 25% 3pt FG, 52.6% Free Throws. There would be a major improvement in all of those stats, and it all started with Redshirt Freshman Danjel Purifoy. Purifoy exploded in the second half. The forward, who had only two points heading into the locker room at halftime, scored 17 points to round out his total to 19, which tied the team high with Harper. Four Tigers would end up with double-digit nights… forward Horace Spencer finished with 12, while Mustapha Heron finished with 10. Auburn finished the game 25-53 in field goals (47%), 7-21 from beyond the three-point line (33%), and 26-39 from the free throw line (66.7%). Bench play was key for the Tigers in their win, as they outscored Georgia State’s bench 17-13. Auburn continues their homestand on Thursday, was they welcome in Eastern Kentucky to Auburn Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 P.M.