AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - In the second game without Bruce Pearl, the No. 13 Auburn Tigers won in dominant fashion under Pearl’s son, Steven Pearl. Auburn (9-1) defeated North Alabama (6-4) 70-44 after a slow start for their sixth straight win.
The Tigers had a rough first half trying to deal with the physicality that North Alabama plays with. The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first four minutes with three blocks, but the Lions would battle back by the end of the first half to bring the game within five points.
After a slow and sluggish first half, Auburn’s offense exploded in the second half to extend the five-point lead to a 26-point lead. Led by Walker Kessler’s 15 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks, Auburn would turn it up on offense by using their size and skill around the basket to start their run.
“We were doing good on the defensive end, but [Coach Steven Pearl] emphasized we have to finish at the rim,” Kessler said when asked about halftime adjustments, “We focused on executing and finishing through contact.”
Auburn finished the game with 30 points in the paint and used their inside game to spark a 23-2 run to start the second half.
Junior Devan Cambridge delivered a crowd-energizing dunk at the height of the run.
“I was waiting for a fastbreak like that. I was thinking about it the whole game,” Cambridge said when asked about his dunk, “I just went ahead and went for it.”
Senior Guard Zep Jasper continued his strike against turnovers tonight with zero turnovers; going into the game, Jasper led the SEC and NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio with 5.67.
Jabari Smith and Cambridge both had 13 points. Wendell Green Jr. gave a spark off the bench with 12 points and six points.
Auburn heads to Saint Louis (8-3) on Saturday to play the Billikens on the CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. CT.