BROOKLYN, NY – Auburn dominated their way to a Legends Classic Championship with a 77-60 win over St. Bonaventure. Johni Broome led the Tigers with 18 points, capturing tournament MVP honors.
“Johni is a great teammate, he's a great kid, he's a good leader,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. “He acts like a pro.” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt called Broome “a handful”.
Broome credited teammates with his success, specifically Dylan Cardwell’s energy and his 6-6 night from the free throw line.
Tough defense and timely offense gave the Tigers the edge against the Bonnies from the opening tip. Broome got going early and often for the Tigers, scoring six points in the first 4:28
St. Bonaventure’s Noah Brown gave Broome problems on both ends, scoring a quick six points for the Bonnies. Brown racked up 3 fouls early, forcing Bonnie's coach Mark Schmidt to sit Brown for the rest of the half.
With Brown on the bench, Broome dominated, scoring 13 points in the first half.
Cardwell was an immediate spark off the bench on the defensive end, screaming with positive energy after a big stop under the basket against Noah Brown. He hit the strap celebration after forcing a shot clock violation on the next Bonnie's possession.
With eight minutes left in the first half, Aden Holloway drilled his first three-pointer to extend Auburn’s lead to 10.
Denver Jones capped the half with a wide-open three-pointer. The Tigers outscored the Bonnies 13-3 in the final 3:02 before the break.
Auburn stretched its lead to 20, ending the first half 48-28.
After dominating the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Tigers went ice-cold from the field. Auburn went nearly six minutes without a field goal. St. Bonaventure closed their deficit to 11 with 3:30 left.
Just as momentum began to swing for the Bonnies, Noah Brown fouled out. St. Bonaventure struggled on offense without their big men, even with Auburn’s inefficient offense down the stretch.
“Auburn would be the best team in the Atlantic 10,” said coach Schmidt.
The Jungle made its way to New York, making themselves heard as the final buzzer sounded. Fans were chanting “Auburn… Tigers!” And were heard yelling “War Eagle” when “All I Do is Win” played through the Barclays Center.
“Our fans are traveling, which is very SEC football-like,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl
The Tigers return to action in Neville Arena against Alabama A&M on Tuesday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT.