Auburn, AL (EETV)- Auburn players knew this game would be a big challenge for them as they defeated a tough NC State team who battled for the entire game. A late run would see the Tigers pull out the narrow victory by a final of 79-73.
Auburn is now 10-0 and still one of four teams in Division I that are undefeated. This is the best start under head coach Bruce Pearl and the third best in program history. Here are the key takeaways.
1. Austin Wiley is Playing his Best Basketball
Auburn fans are starting to see the Austin Wiley that they hoped for when he signed for the Tigers three years ago. Wiley did it all last night scoring ten points with three blocks and three steals. Wiley's over under ratio was +26 which shows his impact in the game.
Wiley has scored ten points or more in six of his last seven games this season. Auburn needs his prescense under the rim because he has the ability to change games.
2. Samir Doughty Stepped up When his Team Needed Him
Samir Doughty was without doubt the best player on the floor as he led all scorers with 24 points. Doughty sealed the game late with a three-point jumper from the left corner to put Auburn up by nine.
It was a very physical game but Doughty continued to fight for every ball. His leadership has been one of the reasons the Tigers have been sucessful in the first ten games.
Doughty spoke after the game saying, "We knew this would be a tough game. We just had to remain level-headed and focus on making stops on defense."
3. Auburn's Defense was a Big Factor to Their Success
NC State was effective on offense for the majority of the game but it would be their 18 turnovers that would hurt them. Auburn would score 22 points off those takeaways.
The Tigers totaled six blocks on the night with three coming from Wiley. NC State's standout guard Braxton Beverley has held to just two points after he was the the leading scorer in last year's contest.
NC State only shot 35% from the field which is well below their normal average of 42%. Auburn's defense can continue to be a factor especially in SEC play where they will face some of the nation's best players.
4. Up Next
Auburn has a quick turnaround as they will face Lehigh on Saturday at 5PM. The game will be televised on SEC Network.