Danny Parker

Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Talks About T.J. Dunks and Bryce Brown's Slow Start

The Auburn basketball team is headed to Birmingham for what should be a challenging game on Saturday night.

T.J. Dunans (above) is a senior for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn heads into Saturday night’s basketball road game at UAB the Tigers are hoping to get two key players to snap out of shooting slumps.

Senior guard T.J. Dunans has made just 14-45 field goals for the Tigers in the opening six games. He is 0-11 on threes and 5-10 at the foul line.

Sophomore guard Bryce Brown is 14-48 from the field, 9-34 on threes and 6-11 at the foul line.

Commenting on Dunans, Pearl said, “He has struggled some, but the good news is I think he continues to try to find his way, and it’s just not easy. It’s not easy because he’s still trying to find his niche--so on and so forth.

“The good news is we are in a really good position right now where he hasn’t played his best basketball yet, and he is one of our best players, and that’s exciting if we can get there,” the coach noted.

“Same thing with Bryce Brown,” Pearl said. “We’re 5-1 and he hasn’t been able to shoot the ball very well, especially the last five games. Obviously, it’s mental, and that’s something I think he definitely can overcome so when we start to get T.J. Dunans and Bryce Brown, two of our more talented players...when those guys start to play better, that’s how you continue to become a pretty good basketball team. We’re not there yet.”

Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday as the Tigers take on a 4-3 UAB team on its homecourt in Birmingham, Bartow Arena.

Photography: John Reed

Bryce Brown is a sophomore for the Tigers.

Brown was one of the SEC’s top three-point shooters last season and opened the 2016-17 schedule with 19 points vs. North Florida as he hit 5-10 treys.

“I would say that I have not lost one ounce of confidence in Bryce’s ability to score the ball or shoot the basketball,” Pearl said. “Then the fact that Bryce can be a great defender and a great shooter gives him a chance to be a really important player because he’s got the chance to be great at both, but, I would say, too, is that he does need to continue to take better shots and not shoot his way out of any kind of, let’s say he’s in a slump like right now.

“Like for example, if Mustapha Heron is shooting 51 percent or 52 percent or whatever he’s shooting, and he is only shooting a shot or two more than Bryce per game, that needs to stay the case or even change,” Pearl said. “Mustapha needs to shoot another shot or two. Bryce needs to shoot a shot or two less.

“Now, when Bryce starts making shots and you get a bit of a heat check, then you are looking to go at it a little bit, but he has got to get out of that. He can’t shoot whatever it was last game (3-12 field goals, 1-7 threes)  and there were a couple of balls I wish we had back.”

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