Auburn Opens Conference Play Thursday at Home
Head Coach Bruce Pearl after the win over UConn on December 23 (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)
Fresh off a trip to New England, that saw the Tigers pick up two key wins over college basketball’s well-known powers, Auburn returns home to open the conference schedule on Thursday against Georgia. Freshman Jared Harper had the best two games of his early career while in Connecticut, by averaging 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals in Auburn’s wins over Oklahoma and UConn. Those numbers impressed the league office enough, that he was named SEC Freshman of the Week. The Mableton, Georgia native enters the game averaging 12.8 points per game, to go along with two rebounds and 3 assists. Harper, along with Danjel Purifoy, have 8 games of scoring double-digits. Another Freshman that is having success this season, is Mustapha Heron. Heron is currently seventh in the SEC in rebounds and scoring and is eighth in rebounds with 6.8 per game, which leads the team. Danjel Purifoy is second with 6.2. Heron has scored in double-figures in all 12 games this season. Fans should keep an eye on that because he is two games away from tying the Auburn record with most consecutive double-digit scoring games, a record held by Wesley Person during the 1990-1991 season. He scored 15 points in both games last week. Thursday’s game is the conference opener for Auburn, and their first draw will be the Georgia Bulldogs. In their last meeting, the Tigers defeated Georgia 84-81 on February 24 in a revenge game after falling in Athens 65-55 just two and a half weeks earlier. Current players TJ Lang, TJ Dunans, Bryce Brown, and Horace Spencer each had a key in the win. Lang led the team in scoring with 21, which was a career-high, Dunans recorded seven assists, Spencer had 9 points and 8 rebounds and Brown added six boards. Jordon Granger picked up his first double-double, by scoring 18 points and recording 11 rebounds. Georgia has two players that average double-figures every game, that’s Yante Maten and JJ Frazier. Frazier has been a key to the Bulldogs success since stepping foot on campus for the 2013-14 season. In 108 games played, Frazier averages 10.8 points per game with 334 assists and 120 steals. This season he averages 15.1 points per contest. Maten is a defensive threat as well. The 6’8” forward has 127 blocks and 327 defensive rebounds in his career in Athens, while averaging 19.8 points per game in 2016-17. The projected starting five for the Bulldogs average 55.9 points per contest, scoring at least 5 points each time out. Auburn faces Georgia Thursday night inside Auburn Arena, tipoff is scheduled for 6 P.M.