Auburn thrashes Grambling State with strong second half - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Auburn thrashes Grambling State with strong second half

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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn scored 65 second half points as five players scored in double figures en route to a 92-42 win over Grambling State in Auburn Arena on Tuesday. Noel Johnson and Jordan Price each had 14 points and combined for 8-of-10 three-point shooting, Chris Denson added 13 points while Frankie Sullivan and Rob Chubb scored 10 apiece for the Tigers.

Auburn's 65 second half points were the most since scoring 73 vs. Troy State on Dec. 9, 1993, in a 113-86 Tigers win. It was the Tigers' largest margin of victory since No. 4 Auburn defeated Stony Brook 100-45 on Jan. 2, 2000.

"I am just going to chalk up this first half to finals, multitude of practices and 10 days of rust," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "Let's knock down these looks. We had the same shots in the first half as we did the second half, they just didn't go in.

"Our guys shot the ball with better confidence. We took care of the ball better, too. Ten turnovers in the first half are way too many especially against a team that didn't press us. In the second half, the guys took advantage of their opportunities offensively."

Auburn improved to 3-5 while Grambling State fell to 0-7.

Leading 27-15 after a sluggish first half following a 10-day layoff for final exams, Auburn scored 25 points in the first five minutes of the second half to take a 52-22 lead on a Shaquille Johnson slam dunk, one of six dunks by the Tigers.

The Tigers led 87-42 with just over three minutes left when Barbee emptied the bench as all 14 Tigers played. Freshman walk-on Nick Pellar capped off the game with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds to play as the Auburn bench alone outscored Grambling 43-42. Auburn shot 67.6 percent from the field and 9-of-14 (.643) in the second half alone as the Tigers had assists on 20 of their 25 baskets.

"It was a sigh of relief," said Denson, who started in his first game after missing Auburn's first seven games. "Not playing for the first seven games and seeing my team go through that hard stretch really hurt just being on the sideline not playing. Today was a sigh of relief. I think I brought a lot of energy and the scoring spark that we needed to get the win today."

Auburn used a 12-3 run to take a 13-6 lead with 10:55 that was started by a Allen Payne dunk to give the Tigers the lead for good at 5-3 five minutes into the game.

Auburn shot 54.0 percent from the field for the game, including 11-of-24 (.458) from 3-point range and 13-of-18 from the foul line. The Tigers held Grambling to only 31.4 percent shooting and 4-of-18 3-pointers while forcing a season-high 24 turnovers.

Auburn held Grambling's leading scorer, Terry Rose, who came in averaging 16.5 points per game, to only eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. Rose, who was a 42.0 percent 3-point shooter, made only one of his six attempts from behind the arc.

Auburn outscored Grambling 36-4 in points off turnovers and had a 42-16 advantage in points in the paint. Derron Hobbs had 11 points and was Grambling's only player in double figures. The Tigers had 12 turnovers, only two in the second half.

The Tigers play host to Furman on Saturday at 7 pm CT in Auburn Arena.

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