AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- Auburn Basketball had never played a game in the Pacific Northwest, but tonight they not only played there, but left with a win.
Bruce Pearl and Company conclude their west coast tour with an 84-61 win over Washington. This rebound win comes three days after the team narrowly lost to USC 74-71.
"That was an important game for us," Coach Pearl said. "Adversity reveals character and obviously losing Sunday to USC was disappointing and it's been a long trip. It's five, six days now and unfortunately that is a long time that we have had to suck on that loss, the USC loss, but I thought the guys responded really well."
Auburn is the first ranked team since 2007 to play at Alaska Airlines Arena and they are the sole power five team this season to compete in three power five road games. Coach Pearl has expressed the need for his guys to be tested on the road prior to SEC play.
"We've got three power five non conference games. No power five school has more than two," Pearl said. "If we're gonna go to Georgia for our first road game, how in the world can expect our guys to be prepared going to Georgia if I'm not taking them on the road to let them get tested. So, that's kind of the significance."
The Tigers were struggling offensively in the first half, but despite the initial sluggishness and missed shots, Jaylin Williams racked up 14 points in the first half and Auburn maintained a steady lead, going into the half up 31-23.
In the first half, the defense was key in holding off the Huskies to just 36.8 percent shooting from the field for the game and 21.2 percent (7 of 33) in the first half, marking the second-worst shooting performance by an opponent this season.
In front of a crowd of many Orange and Blue faithful, the Tigers came back out and played one of their best halves this season.
Joining Williams in the offensive charge was Johni Broome, and for the second straight game he led the team in points. Both Williams and Broome tallied 18 points a piece in tonight's matchup.
"I feel like the first half, I was being a little wild. I was trying to get too close to the basket instead of just trusting myself, "Broome said. "In the second half, I was just like, it really didn't matter where the defense was. If I was able to get the shot off, I just had a confidence going in."
Despite lessening the gap at the end of the first, the Huskies gameplay in the second half was ugly. They were 21.2% in shooting, with seven turnovers and not one player with more than five points.
The Tigers took advantage and made nine straight baskets during one stretch.
Broome made 6 of 7 shots, adding 12 points in the second. Wendell Green was responsible for 11 points, and shot 21 of 29 (72.4%) in the second half. Chris Moore racked up 12 points of his own.
Auburn was in control of points in the paint (48-28) and out-rebounded Washington, 42-24.
Following a brief Christmas break, things get serious for the Tigers. No. 23 Auburn will open up SEC play next Wednesday night in Neville Arena with a matchup against the Florida Gators.