Tigers Take Down Gardner-Webb Behind Defense and Rebounding

Dec. 6, 2017

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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn set season-best marks in rebounds and points allowed in an 80-55 victory against Gardner-Webb Wednesday night. The Tigers (7-1) pulled down 52 rebounds - the most they have pulled down since they had 56 versus Florida A&M, Jan. 4, 2014.

Auburn limited Gardner-Webb (3-7) to just 55 points, which stands as the fewest points allowed since it gave up only 48 in a victory against Middle Tennessee, Dec. 29, 2014.

"The defensive effort was really outstanding," head coach Bruce Pearl said. "Gardner-Webb is a good offensive team, and if you allow them to run their stuff, they'll score. That's the best defensive effort from start to finish that I think we've had in a long time. We jumped on them early and stayed on them."

Desean Murray led the way with 20 points and seven rebounds. It was Murray's 24th career game of 20 or more points and the first time he's accomplished the feat as a Tiger.

Anfernee McLemore chipped in with his second career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He also added a career-best six blocks in 20 minutes of action.

Point guard Jared Harper also notched a career-high with 10 assists. It was the most dimes dropped by an Auburn player since Kareem Canty's 10 versus Northwestern State, Nov. 27, 2015.

As a team, Auburn had 10 players get on the scoresheet and 13 players grab at least one rebound, including six with five-plus boards.

The Tigers raced out to a big margin early on, jumping ahead 21-4 in the opening six minutes behind buckets from McLemore, Murray, Mustapha Heron, Chuma Okeke and Horace Spencer.

Gardner-Webb would get the deficit down to 11 at 23-12, but Auburn was able to maintain a 14-point lead heading into halftime, 42-28.

The Tigers opened the second half with a 7-0 run after 3-pointers by McLemore and Bryce Brown, as well as a tip-in by Murray to extend their lead at 50-28.

Auburn would stretch its lead to as much as 30 following a dunk by McLemore at 67-37 with just over 8:30 remaining in the ballgame. The Tigers went on to take the result by 25 over the Runnin' Bulldogs, 80-55.

The most special moment of the night at Auburn Arena came after the buzzer sounded. In front of all of his teammates and his family, senior Patrick Keim was awarded a scholarship by Coach Pearl and the coaching staff.

Auburn returns to the court Saturday when it hosts UAB for an in-state showdown. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. at Auburn Arena.



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