No. 11 Auburn will look to remain undefeated when it faces Memphis in the Holiday Hoopsgiving on Saturday in Atlanta.
Auburn (8-0), which is off to its best start since opening the 2019-2020 season 15-0, is coming off a 93-66 win over visiting Colgate on Friday. Memphis (7-2) extended its winning streak to five games with an 87-71 victory over visiting Little Rock on Tuesday.
Auburn led the Raiders by 14 at halftime and by as many as 30 in the second half. K.D. Johnson had a team-high 16 points, which included going 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
Auburn outscored Colgate 48-32 in points in the paint.
“When you’re coming in the jungle and we’re stopping you like that and our offense is flowing like that, we’re going to be hard to stop,” Johnson said.
Wendell Green Jr. added 13 points, four assists and two rebounds. Johni Broome chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds, with Allen Flanigan finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds.
“Everybody just came in and played different roles tonight,” Flanigan said. “We came together as a team with a man down, stepped up and put the pieces together to come out with the W.”
The Tigers were without Jaylin Williams, who averages 8.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, after he tested positive for COVID-19, according to coach Bruce Pearl. Williams is expected to be available against Memphis.
Colgate shot 43.9 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from beyond the arc, which concerned Pearl.
“If we’re going to be able to beat the better teams on our schedule, it’s time for those young, talented players to be able to step in and not have us drop off,” he said. “They’ve still got a lot to learn, but they played better.”
Green (13.4 ppg, 3.8 apg), Broome (10.9 ppg, team-high 8.7 rpg) and Johnson (10.5 ppg) all average in double figures for Auburn.
Memphis had four scorers in double figures against the Trojans, led by DeAndre Williams, who had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Jayden Hardaway, who finished with a career-high 16 points. Keonte Kennedy had 14 points and Alex Lomax chipped in 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals.
However, Memphis’ top scorer, Kendric Davis (17.4 ppg, 4.8 apg) was held to eight points on 3-for-15 shooting before being ejected in the final minutes after headbutting D.J. Smith. Davis, who is 7 of 33 from the field the past two games, won’t be suspended for Saturday’s game.
“They came in feisty. They came in wanting to win and our team felt disrespected,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “But I respected them wanting to fight. We just got out of character from just the physicality of the game and the talk. It’s just part of basketball.”
For the season, Williams is the team’s only other player who averages in double figures at 14.1 points per game, in addition to a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game.
Auburn defeated Memphis 74-71 in the team’s last meeting in December 2020, which was the schools’ first time facing each other since Auburn won the teams’ first-ever meeting 78-64 in 1953.
–Field Level Media