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Pearl Hopes to Improve Second-Half Play

Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl (Photo: Auburn Athletics)

Auburn earned their fifth win of the season on Tuesday night, a 90-83 win over USC Upstate. In the game, freshman Mustapha Heron led scoring with 23, and LaRon Smith scored 15 off the bench. In the game, Auburn shot 45.5% from the field, and 59.1% from the free throw line. A night like that deserves recognition. However, Coach Bruce Pearl does not see it that way. “There are some good numbers there, but we are not playing as well together as we need to.” That was one of the first points that Pearl made in his opening statement of his postgame press conference. Auburn led by 10 at the half, but Upstate scored 51 points and shot 47% in the second half. Auburn’s two previous games with Texas Tech and Purdue had similar storylines. Pearl feels that creating turnovers could improve their second half woes. “We created a lot of 50/50 balls early in the game, and they gobbled most of them up. The reason why you press is to see if you can create turnovers, and we need to do a better job in that area.” Another area of concern in the game with Upstate was their ability to take in offensive rebounds. The Spartans shot 42% during the game but were able to bring in 19 offensive rebounds. “The tape doesn’t lie, the stat team doesn’t lie. (We) didn’t guard them, did not keep them off the boards, did not play with the effort and energy required to close it out.” Auburn moves to 5-1 on the young season after the win, Auburn will hit the floor again on Saturday, when the Tigers face UAB on the road. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 P.M.

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