AUBURN – The Auburn Tigers hosted the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawks for an exhibition game at Neville Arena on Wednesday and came away with a 102-66 victory.
"We weren't as excited about playing today," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. "This has been our sixth day in a row, so I thought they were a little tired and fatigued."
Auburn's newcomers put on a show. Freshman guard Aden Holloway did not play, but FIU transfer Denver Jones and UAH transfer Chaney Johnson stole the show.
What are some of the biggest takeaways from the final tune-up before the regular season?
3-point shooting did not look great
Auburn shot 5-25 (20%) from beyond the arch. This mark is concerningly low, even for an exhibition game.
Jones accounted for all but one of Auburn's 3-point baskets, going 4-8 from deep. Senior guard K.D. Johnson accounted for the Tigers' one other 3-pointer.
Pearl is unconcerned about Auburn's ability to shoot the deep ball and chalked up this performance to simply being an off-night.
"Tonight, we didn't shoot very well," Pearl said. "Probably the worst we've shot in a while; I'm not worried about it. We're going to shoot fine. Most of the shots we got were good shots and balls that I think are gonna go in."
Denver Jones is going to be a difference-maker
Jones was one of Auburn's biggest transfer portal additions this offseason. The 6-foot-4 guard from FIU has already shown that Pearl made a good choice in bringing him in.
Jones led Auburn in scoring with 18 points, went 5-9 from the field and also added two rebounds.
"It felt good being out there in front of the Auburn family tonight," Jones said. "I always asked the returners how the Jungle is, and they told me it's crazy. I got to taste a little bit of it tonight."
This team has a lot of depth
Pearl has talked a lot this season about how this team is 10 deep. That showed tonight when there was no visible drop-off without Holloway playing at all or being without junior center Johni Broome, who went down with a shoulder injury early in the game.
"I think we could have 10 guys playing 20 minutes," Pearl said. "That's a possibility. That won't necessarily be the case, but that's what it's been throughout practice."
The depth showed as 58 of Auburn's points came from the bench. Not having a significant drop-off from the bench will go a long way toward helping Auburn with load management.
Rebounding was a team effort
Auburn had 13 players record at least one rebound. Senior center Dylan Cardwell, who saw an increased number of minutes due to Broome's absence, led the way with 10.
Auburn struggled in the rebounding department last season, but it appears that this season will be different.
Auburn will officially begin the 2023-24 season on Nov. 7 when it travels up to Sioux Falls, S.D., to take on the No. 20 Baylor Bears at Sanford Pentagon. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT, and ESPN will carry the broadcast.
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