AUBURN, Ala (EETV) - Auburn fans packed Auburn Arena for the highly anticipated return of the No. 24 ranked Tigers. The Tigers took on the Georgia Southern Eagles Tuesday night to start their season. 

After a historic season that had a magical March Madness run and a Final Four appearance, the Auburn Tigers kicked off their 2019-2020 season with an 83-74 win against Georgia Southern. 

The Tigers had a slow start but pulled out the win in the home opener with help from key players Samir Doughty, Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy, and freshman Isaac Okoro. Doughty had 20 points, while Wiley and Purifoy had 13, and Okoro had 12. The Tiger bench was also successful, scoring 16 of the 83. 

Senior Samir Doughty has stepped up to be a leader for this team, and it is apparent even in game one of the season. Head Coach Bruce Pearl spoke about Doughty saying, “Samir made plays, he’s not afraid. In a lot of ways, he helped win the ballgame for us, because he makes plays for us offensively and defensively.” 

Freshman Issac Okoro shined in his first season opener for the Tigers, with 12 points, two assists and five rebounds. Samir Doughty commented on his performance saying, “He was efficient, flying around. We're going to use him a lot more than y'all think, but I think he played a good all-around game.”

Bruce Pearl has faith that this team will succeed, but he knows they must improve first. Pearl said, “This teams gonna get better fast, hopefully fast.”  

Looking forward, The Tigers are set to play Davidson next. “Davidson is absolutely a program you don’t schedule, you stay away from Bob [McKillop] because he's one of the best coaches in the county,” Pearl said, “It's going to be a challenge for us.” 

The Tigers’ next game will be against the Davidson Wildcats Friday at the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Maryland. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. CT. and can be found on CBS Sports Network.