AUBURN – Barely a week removed from one of the worst offensive showings of the Bruce Pearl era, Auburn's offense came alive behind solid three-point shooting and a tenacious defense to take down Colgate 93-66. The No. 15 Tigers scored the most points since their February matchup with Vanderbilt.
It was a completely balanced night for the Tigers, shooting 55.2% from the field as well as 45.5% from beyond the arc. The one weak point for Auburn, a 56.3% mark at the free throw line, did not matter as the offense, combined with a relentless defensive attack, was too much for the Raiders.
"When they shoot like that with their defense and their offensive rebounding, they're a legitimate top team in the country," Colgate head coach Matt Langel said following the game.
The offense started hot in the first half, shooting over 50% from the floor and from the three-point line, led by K.D. Johnson, who started the game 4-for-4. With a 47-33 halftime lead, the Tigers kept their foot on the gas, shooting over 50% from the floor again in the second half and finishing with 46 points in the final 20 minutes.
Johnson might have slowed down in the second half, but the rest of the team stepped up. Auburn had four players in double figures, with Johnson leading the way with 16, followed by Wendell Green Jr. and Johni Broome, each at 13 apiece, and Allen Flanigan with an efficient 12 of his own.
"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.
The depth of the Tigers reigned supreme once again, with 10 players seeing the court for 10 minutes or more.
Jaylin Williams was out after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Bruce Pearl. In Williams' absence, the combo of Broome, Yohan Traore and Dylan Cardwell stepped up to the plate. The trio combined for 30 points, 20 rebounds, six blocks and five steals.
"Everybody just came in and played different roles tonight. Chris did really well at the 4," said Flanigan. "We came together as a team with a man down, stepped up, and put the pieces together to come out with the W."
The strong defense that Auburn has been known for this season had some difficulties stopping the passing of the Colgate attack in the first half, allowing the Raiders to shoot 50% from the floor and 57% from three.
Behind some halftime adjustments, the Tigers' defense shut down the Raiders' offense in the final 20 minutes, holding their opponents to shooting just 39.4% from the field.
The scariest moment of the game was at the end of the first half when K.D. Johnson took a hard fall on the last shot of the half. Johnson was down for a moment before walking off under his own power and returned in the second half for eight minutes of action on the court.
"He got his bell rung, but his bell is always rung," Pearl said. "I don't think he could tell much of a difference."
Auburn will have an eight-day break before returning to the court for Holiday Hoopsgiving on December 10. The Tigers will take a short trip to Atlanta and face off with a talented Memphis team coached by basketball legend Penny Hardaway.
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