AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- After a hiccup in Fayetteville, Arkansas that ended their 19-game winning streak, Auburn came back home this Saturday and defeated the Texas A&M Aggies, 75-58. No. 1 Auburn now holds a 23-2 overall record and 11-1 record in conference play.
Sophomore Walker Kessler played a major role in the win, earning his second triple-double of the season, making him the fifth person in the SEC history and the only player this season with two. Kessler now owns two of the three triple-double performances in Auburn history. The sophomore ended the game with 12 points, 12 blocks, and 11 rebounds. Kessler, who was recently named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the year watchlist, led the defensive charge with a career high 12 blocks.
"[The guards] make it easy to block shots because they're so good at defending the ball," Kessler said. "They know that I can block the shots so they corral the guard to me so I wouldn't be able to do that kind of stuff without them."
Auburn showed out with some of their best defensive efforts this season. The Aggies did not get past double digits until the five minute mark in the first half. Texas A&M shot 27.1 percent from the field.
The Tigers also had a slower start offensively. K.D. Johnson brought the energy early in the game. Johnson's timely one-hand slam dunk, propelled Auburn to a 33-18 lead. Johnson finished with 11 points, joining his teammates Kessler, Flanigan and Cambridge, as they all ended the game scoring in double figures. Allen Flanigan was the lead scorer with a season-high 16 points.
Devan Cambridge contributed 10 points, including three show-stopping dunks. In the first half he had an alley-oop with the help of Wendall Green Jr. and just minutes later a one-handed tomahawk slam. He put down a one-handed alley-oop in the second half. Dylan Cardwell put up 9 points and Jaylin Williams added 5 points and matched Kessler with 11 rebounds.
The Tigers also welcomed back a critical member of the defense, Zep Jasper, who has missed the past two games due to a non-COVID related illness.
“Zep brings the fire on defense,” teammate Flanigan said. “He's going to get up in you and he’s going to play defense and move his feet. He’s going to lock down whoever he’s in front of on a given night.:
Texas A&M's Henry Coleman III had 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Quenton Jackson scored 11 points, and Tyrece Radford and Wade Taylor IV also had 10 points. However these efforts were not enough to bring down the Tigers, and the Aggies just narrowly avoided its lowest scoring output of the season, which was 57 points against Butler back in November.
“Our team played really hard today in front of a national television audience,” Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl said. “They played really good defense. We didn’t make as many shots as we need to to get to the point where we feel like we’re special, but that’s what needs to be done.”
The Tigers will be back home at Auburn Arena this Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 8 PM CST with a matchup against the Vanderbilt Commodores.