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Auburn pulls out win after ugly first half against USF

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Auburn’s game against the University of South Florida was a tale of two halves. Auburn managed a 17-point turnaround in the second half to overcome the Bulls, 67-59.

Through 20 minutes, Auburn was outrebounded, outshot, lost the rebound and turnover battles and was down by nine points.

Allen Flannigan led the game in scoring through the first half despite shooting 2-for-5 and having three of the squad’s 11 turnovers. South Florida had four players put up six points in the first.

Shooting woes continued from the previous game, with the Tigers shooting an abysmal 2-for-14 from behind the arc. Shooting in front of the arc was not much better, with Auburn scoring on a 25% clip.

Auburn came out with a fire lit under them in the second half shooting much better, taking care of the ball and winning the hustle stats, blocks and steals. Auburn finished with seven blocks compared to USF’s one.

“We talked about the fact that I thought South Florida was the more excited team to play," Head coach Bruce Pearl said about his halftime message." They outhustled us and they outrebounded us, so I challenged my players. I thought they responded.”

Auburn shot 53.6% in the second half, pushing the game percentage to 40.4.

Wendell Green Jr. led the game in points after scoring 18 in the second half. Only two Tigers managed double-figure scoring in the game, Green and Flannigan.

“Our defense stepped up. Our defensive energy is stepping up a lot. That led to offense, we scored and transitioned more. I don't think we hit too many shots, but we were just getting to the basket," said Green. "We finished looking for contact, and trying to score in contact, and we finished in transition. So, our defense was the main thing.”

With 15 minutes left, Auburn went on a 12-2 scoring run, going 5-for-5 in the stretch to take the lead for the first time in the game. Freshman Yohan Traore hit a corner three off of a cross-court pass from Green for the lead, and the Jungle promptly erupted.

In the second half, Auburn held the Bulls scoreless from three and only allowed two made three-pointers across the game.

Auburn showed off how deep their rotation is with 34 points coming from the bench.

Next, the Tigers host the Eagle of Winthrop University on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 6 PM in Neville Arena.