Starkville, MS (EETV)- Auburn opened the SEC season with an 80-68 victory against Mississippi St in a hostile road environment to keep their undefeated season alive.
The Tigers did not play their best in the first half as they shot just 33% from the field. Mississippi St was not shooting well either as they shot only 27%. Defense dominated the first half as both teams forced a combined 19 turnovers in the first half. Auburn trailed 17-9 but would take a 20-6 run to take a 29-25 lead at halftime.
The second half would be controlled by Auburn as they would stretch the lead out to ten points early in the quarter. Mississippi St would cut the lead back to two, but Danjel Purifoy would step up in a big way knocking down the next eight points with a putback layup and two three-point shots.
Auburn's J'von McCormick had a huge second half scoring 20 points on his way to a season high 28 points in total. All five of Auburn's starters would finish with double-digits in the game.
Bruce Pearl commented on McCormick's play saying, "He took over. We gave him the keys to the car and he drove it. He's leading our team. He's leading on and off the court. He's leading with his work ethic."
Freshman Isaac Okoro scored 16 points while Samir Doughty scored 13 and Danjel Purifoy added 11. Austin Wiley had another double-digit game scoring 10 points with 5 blocks.
The Tigers remain one of two undefeated teams in the country as San Diego St has yet to drop a game this season. The Aztecs defeated Utah State to push their record to 14-0.
Auburn is now 13-0 (1-0 in SEC) and they will return home on January 8th against Vanderbilt for their SEC home opener before hosting Georgia next Saturday. Tip-off against Vanderbilt will begin at 8pm on SEC Network.