For the second time this season, No. 23 Auburn was able to follow a tough loss away from Neville Arena with a much-needed win, and this coming as the non-conference schedule draws to a close and SEC play begins in a few days. The Tigers (10-2) defeated the Washington Huskies (9-4, 1-1 PAC-12) 84-61 to complete their west coast trip and head home for Christmas break. 

“You know that was an important game for us, adversity reveals character. Obviously losing Sunday to USC was disappointing,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “I thought the guys responded really well.”

It was not a pretty start for the Tigers, shooting just 2-of-12 from the field to open the contest, but Auburn finally found its groove and did not look back, making 31 of its next 47 shots to close out the game in a blowout victory. 

Washington’s 9-0 run near the end of the first half brought things close, giving Auburn just an eight-point lead going into halftime, and Auburn shot just 40% from the floor in the first half while committing eight turnovers. 

One of the key players struggling during those first 20 minutes was starting center John Broome. Broome was just 3-of-10 from the field with six points in a difficult first half. 

“I told him beforehand, ‘we’re gonna go through you,’" Pearl said. “I thought he was trying to get too complex, just turn around and shoot it.”

Broome was one of the players leading the charge in the second-half explosion for the Tigers, hitting six of his seven shots and finishing the game with 18 points, one of his best offensive outings as a Tiger. 

“Just finishing my shot,” said Broome on the keys to his success in the second half. “Second half it really didn’t matter with the defense, if I was able to get the shot off, I had confidence in myself that it’d go in.”

Broome was not the only player to find his groove offensively as the Tigers came alive in the second half, shooting 72% from the field and hitting 55% from beyond the arc. Broome was one of four Tigers in double figures and he was joined by Jaylin Williams (18), Chris Moore (12) and Wendell Green Jr. (11).

Williams led the way for the Tigers in the first half with 14 points and while his second-half performance was quieter, he still gave the offense another option which allowed other players like Broome and Green to flourish. 

“We had the advantage inside and then I thought Jaylin Williams was the best player on the floor,” Pearl said.

That advantage extended to the defensive side of the ball as Auburn completely shut down the Washington attack in the first half, holding the Huskies to shooting 21% from the field. Washington eventually found some rhythm in the second half, hitting 58% of its shots, but it was too little too late and could not match Auburn’s offensive explosion.

Auburn will now have a nice Christmas break before returning to Neville Arena for its SEC opener against the Florida Gators on December 28th. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CST.

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