Freshman Bryce Brown (above) is showing he is a threat from long range.
Auburn, Ala.--Heading into the 2015-16 season Bruce Pearl said his second Auburn basketball team would be better offensively. With five games in the books, it is clear the coach’s prediction was on target.
Following an 81-78 victory at Coastal Carolina, the Tigers are leading the SEC in scoring with an average of 90.2 points per contest. Last season the Tigers managed to score an average of just 67.9 points per game.
Improved three-point shooting has fueled the offensive surge. Even without the league’s top scorer from last season, K.T. Harrell, who hit 98 treys in 2014-15, the Tigers have stepped up their production from long range.
Last season the Tigers relied heavily on the three-ball and made an average of 7.2 per contest. Off to a 4-1 start this season, Pearl’s Tigers are averaging 10.8 made threes per contest.
Auburn’s shooting percentage on threes is up, too, from 34.7 percent to 41.5 percent.
Junior guard Kareem Canty, who leads the Tigers in scoring at 17.2 points per contest, has the most threes with 14 and is hitting at a 35.9 percent rate.
Sophomore guard T.J. Lang, who is off to a hot start with his shooting (15-25, 60.0 percent) has made 11-19 threes (57.9 percent).
T.J. Lang, a six-foot-seven sophomore guard, is shown working on his shot during practice.
Seven other Tigers have made a three this year. That group includes freshman guard Bryce Brown (10-23), junior guard T.J. Dunans (8-18), senior forward Cinmeon Bowers (5-10), junior guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen (2-5), senior forward Jordon Granger (2-8), senior forward Tyler Harris (1-4) and walk-on sophomore guard Patrick Keim (1-1).
After hitting 11 threes vs. Coastal Carolina the Tigers have made 54, a total they didn’t reach until game eight last season.
The Tigers will turn their focus towards fall semester final exams and won’t hit the court again for a game until Dec. 12th when they travel to Nashville where they will face Middle Tennessee State in a contest at Bridgestone Arena, the location of Auburn’s run to the semi-finals of the 2015 SEC Basketball Tournament.
Pearl said his team needs to improve to handle the coming challenges. “I told the guys, here’s the deal, ‘These opponents are getting harder.’ Middle is going to be harder than (Coastal Carolina) and then Mercer at home is a really good team that beat Duke two years ago.’”
The Tigers will play Middle Tennessee State at noon on Dec. 12th before returning to Auburn Arena for their only home game in December three days later to take on the Mercer Bears.
The rest of the December schedule includes a Dec. 19th road trip to Mercer and Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu Dec. 22-25.