Auburn Looks to Continue Hot Streak Tonight at South Carolina
Auburn celebrates a 20-point win over Alabama on January 21 (Photo: Auburn Athletics/ Wade Rackley)
Auburn Men’s Basketball (13-6, 3-4 SEC) looks to extend their winning streak to three games this evening against a tough South Carolina (15-4, 5-1 SEC) team at 5:30 P.M. inside Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina. Auburn is riding high following an 84-64 win over Alabama on Saturday evening. Freshman Austin Wiley had the best game of his young career, scoring 19 points and bringing down 9 boards in the win. The game was tight throughout until Mustapha Heron drained a three-pointer with 8:57 to go in the contest. In that time, Heron scored 14 of his 15 total points. Danjel Purifoy also returned to the rotation, scoring five points and three assists. South Carolina enters the week ranked 23rd in the nation according to the Associated Press, and is 20th in the RPI. The Gamecocks fell for the first time in conference play on Saturday, by the hands of the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. In the 85-69 loss, senior Sindarius Thornwell scored 34 points, brought down six rebounds and had an assist in 37 minutes of play. TeMarcus Blanton was behind Thornwell in points with 12 in just 9 minutes off the bench. In their midweek game, three Gamecocks finished in double-figures to defeat Florida 57-53 in Gainesville. Thornwell led the way with 20, while Chris Silva and PJ Dozier scored 11 and 10 respectively. Sindarius Thornwell leads the Gamecocks in all major categories. Thornwell averages 19.4 points per game while bringing in 6.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Off the bench, P.J. Dozier scores 14.6 per contest and is second with 2.9 assists. Chris Silva is second on the team in rebounds with 6.2. After starting 0-3 in league play, Auburn has won three of its’ last four, including two wins over LSU and Alabama last week. Mustapha Heron extended his streak of double-digit scoring outputs Saturday to 19 games, with a 15-point performance against the Crimson Tide. He continues to lead the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game. Danjel Purifoy returned Saturday against Alabama and played 29 minutes. Purifoy is second on the team by scoring 13.1 points per and leads in rebounds with 5.6. Jared Harper is the third Tiger in scoring, with 12.4. Ronnie Johnson, Austin Wiley, and Horace Spencer are three more names to watch for in this game. Over the last five games, Johnson has played valuable minutes and has scored an average of 10.4 points per game in that span. In his last game, Johnson scored 17 points in the win over Alabama and has landed in double-figures on six different occasions this season. As previously mentioned, Wiley had the best output of his young career on Saturday against Alabama. He is 5th in the SEC in blocks per game with 1.1 and has a .558 field goal percentage, which is ninth best in the league. Spencer has done a significant job filling in for Purifoy over the last four games. In 20.25 minutes over the last four games, Spencer has scored double-digits twice, including a 10-point game at Missouri on January 10 where he was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field. Auburn battles South Carolina Tuesday evening at 5:30 P.M. in Columbia, South Carolina.