IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Auburn Rolls Past Gamecocks for Fifth Consecutive Win

Ken Cross

January 23, 2023 at 1:09 pm.

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl always gives opponents their props, no matter the situation, and going into the Tigers’ 81-66 win over South Carolina, he was very wary of the Gamecocks.

“South Carolina owns two of the most impressive wins in our league – Kentucky and Clemson,” said Pearl.

Auburn led from wire-to-wire on Saturday as Johni Broome scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while point guard Wendell Green, Jr., scored 16 with 12 assists to move the Tigers to 6-1 in the SEC.

“I thought we had good defense and I thought we got offense off defense,” Pearl said. “Looked the part, right? We just didn’t maintain that – to give South Carolina credit.”

Auburn held South Carolina to 35.7 percent from the floor and the Gamecocks only made seven of 28 shots from the three-point line. Interestingly, South Carolina’s GG Jackson scored his career-high of 30 points to keep the Gamecocks in position to make runs.

“We like to start off early and put pressure on them,” noted Broome. “From my standpoint, I have had a couple of rough games, so it was good to get going early. Coach made very good play calls.”

Broome was key in a 13-3 Auburn run that allowed the Tigers to take a 39-22 halftime lead as he scored six points in the final four minutes. He finished 12-of-17 from the floor as South Carolina doesn’t have an inside game that can deal closely with a talented player such as Broome.

“Obviously, we respected our opponent and played well early which we have to do,” said Pearl. “Give South Carolina credit. They scored 44 points against what’s been a pretty good Auburn defense. Our defense wasn’t very good, but give South Carolina credit.”

Wendell Green, Jr. got his points and assists in 31 minutes as he led the Tigers’ attack from the backcourt in a stellar fashion.

Green has become one of the top point guards in the nation as he is tied for third in the SEC with 4.2 assists per game.

He is also averaging 13.7 ppg and shooting 45.5 percent from inside the arc as he gets to the basket off the dribble and is excellent at making decisions which allows him to score or gives his teammates a better scoring opportunity. Defensively, he is a tough as well.

Green made four free throws late after he scored on a layup off of a steal with 6:25 to give the Tigers a 64-48 advantage in a 12-2 run when Broome scored three time in 1:45 as he gave Auburn a 70-50 lead with 4:14 to play.

“Johni Broome was terrific at the rim and Wendell Green did a good job dropping off dimes,” said Pearl. “He’s a terrific scorer and he’s a great facilitator. Our first-half defense was terrific.”