Auburn cruises past South Carolina to get back on winning track
The No. 16 Auburn Tigers basketball team returned to its winning ways with a decisive 80-67 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Wednesday night.
Auburn got a boost from small forward Isaac Okoro at the end of a strange first half when Okoro barely beat the buzzer on a tip in. After a sluggish start to the game, Okoro’s basket gave the Tigers a 39-31 lead into the locker room and also provided the Tigers with much-needed momentum going into the second half.
The catalyst for Auburn was a breakout performance from freshman guard Devan Cambridge, who went for 26 points, including a six of nine performance from behind the three-point line. Coming into Wednesday’s contest, Cambridge had been averaging 10.4 points per game and 25% from three-point range.
Between Cambridge finding his stroke, and Auburn’s ability to really lock down on defense in the final 20 minutes, the game went comfortably toward Auburn for most of the second half.
The Tigers improved to 16-2 overall and 4-2 in the SEC.
Following its two losses last week, Auburn had dropped to a predicted No. 4 seed in the latest NCAA tournament prediction from ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Lunardi’s “Bracketology” is a weekly feature slotting teams according to similar metrics used by the tournament selection committee to make its seedings.
Head coach Bruce Pearl’s squad faces off next with Iowa State on Saturday morning in Auburn Arena as part of the Big 12/SEC challenge. The Cyclones are 9-9 on the season and currently seventh in the Big 12 standings.