Auburn beats USC Upstate at home, 90-83 - Montgomery Alabama news.

Auburn beats USC Upstate at home, 90-83

SOURCE: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics SOURCE: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

AUBURN, Ala. (Auburn Athletics) – Mustapha Heron totaled 23 points, six rebounds and three assists and LaRon Smith added 15 points and five rebounds as Auburn led from start to finish in a 90-83 win over USC Upstate in Auburn Arena on Tuesday.

Jared Harper added 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals while Ronnie Johnson had 10 points and three assists off the bench. Danjel Purifoy dished out nine assists to go along with six points and four rebounds.

Auburn (5-1) scored the first five points of the game, led 9-2 and extended its lead to 23-10 nine minutes in. The Tigers scored eight straight points to take its largest lead of the game at 36-18 with 6:47 left.

USC Upstate (3-4) used a 13-0 run to cut the lead to 36-31 with 4:23 left, but Auburn answered with a 13-1 run bridging both halves to take a 49-32 lead. The Tigers held a 42-32 lead at the half.

“I’m happy with being 5-1 after six games, but I’m not happy with the quality of our play,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “The stat sheet I don’t think really tells the story in the sense that if you score 90, you have 23 assists and seven turnovers, you shoot 53 percent in the second half, there are some good numbers there.

“But we’re not playing as well together as we need to, and again, when I say that, 23 assists and seven turnovers, it doesn’t sound like it. But we can play better together. I thought that Upstate played with better effort and energy than we did.”

Auburn cruised for most of the second half, leading 66-49 with 11:48 to play, but USC Upstate had a 12-2 run to cut the Tigers’ lead to 84-79 with 1:26 to go.

“I think that we see the potential,” said Heron. “I’ve always heard that potential is the kiss of death, so we have to just do - we know our best basketball is ahead of us.”

7-foot, 285-pound center Michael Buchanan led the Spartans with 20 points and 15 rebounds while Mike Cunningham added 20 points.

Auburn outshot USC Upstate 45.5 percent to 42.1 percent from the floor, but the Tigers were 7-of-32 (.219) from 3-point range while the Spartans were 10-of-33 (.303). Auburn was 13-of-22 (.591) from the foul line to Upstate’s 9-of-14 (.643). The Tigers were outrebounded 52-41, but forced 15 turnovers and had a 21-10 edge in points off turnovers and 50-32 advantage in points in the paint.

Auburn plays at UAB (4-3) on Saturday in Bartow Arena at 7:30 pm CT.

(Courtesy: Auburn Athletics)

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