Wed, 27 Jan 2021

Auburn hopes to improve shooting vs. South Alabama

Field Level Media
04 Dec 2020, 15:05 GMT+10

Auburn hopes to get its shooting eye back in its home opener against South Alabama on Friday night.

The Tigers (1-2) struggled from the field in a 63-55 loss at UCF on Monday, shooting just 32.3 percent overall and hitting just 7 of 34 3-point attempts (20.6 percent). The problem even carried over to the free-throw line, where they missed 14 of 22 attempts.

The poor shooting wasted a solid defensive effort by the Tigers, who held the Knights to just 36.8 percent from the field and forced them into 19 turnovers.

"Defensively I thought our kids played hard. I thought we had a good game plan," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "To hold Central Florida down to 63 points, 37 percent shooting, turning them over 19 times, I thought we did a really good job there."

The Tigers hadn't burned up the nets in splitting two games in the opening Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-off, shooting 40.2 percent overall in a win over Saint Joseph's and loss to top-ranked Gonzaga. But it was nothing like their frustrations at Orlando, where they started the game missing their first dozen 3-point attempts.

"It was just one of those days," said junior guard Jamal Johnson, who scored a game-high 18 points. "We couldn't buy a bucket. We couldn't make free throws. We couldn't make layups. It just happens sometimes."

South Alabama, which lost to the Tigers by one point last year, is coming off an 86-47 victory over Emmanuel (Ga.). The Jaguars (3-1) opened their season with wins over Florida Atlantic and Mobile before losing to Jacksonville State.

The Jaguars were 11 of 26 from 3-point range in their win over Emmanuel. Now they are going on the road for the first time.

"Obviously, this is a huge one for our fan base and our program to go to Auburn and play," Jaguars coach Richie Riley said. "Bruce Pearl is not only one of the best college basketball coaches right now, but he goes down as one of the best program builders of all time. What he has done at every stop that he has been at is things you couldn't believe."

Pearl is looking forward to getting home.

"Maybe we'll play better at home just from the familiarity of it," he said.

--Field Level Media

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