Bryce Brown (above) led the Tigers in three-point shooting last season.
Auburn, Ala.--Two Auburn basketball starters have been arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and suspended from the team for an indefinite amount of time, Coach Bruce Pearl said on Wednesday.
Horace Spencer, a sophomore forward, and sophomore guard Bryce Brown are the players who will not be available for Thursday's 8 p.m. home game vs. Coastal Carolina. Both have started each game this season for the Tigers and will now face the consequences, according to Pearl.
“It’s not how I would like to start off our weekly press conference," the coach said on Wednesday. "Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer will not practice today nor will they play tomorrow. Unfortunately, they were arrested for misdemeanor possession. We’re disappointed. They are embarrassed. These are really good kids that have done a lot of really good things.
Spencer is averaging 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest. Brown, who has been in a shooting slump since opening night, is averaging 6.9 points and 1.9 rebounds, but is considered one of Auburn's best defensive players on the perimeter.
The Tigers, who have a 6-2 record after losing on Monday night to Boston College, return to action with an 8 p.m. home game on Thursday vs. Coastal Carolina. Coached by former AU head coach Cliff Ellis, Coastal Carolina will present a tough challenge for Auburn and Pearl said the suspensions only make it tougher. With T.J. Lang bothered by a sore knee there are still questions about his availability for Thursday's game. Because of that the Tigers will have plenty of questions when they take the floor.
Commenting on Lang, Pearl said, "I think he will be okay, but he's not at 100 percent. But, I think he should be able to go."
The coach added, “We’ll be without our best defender in Bryce Brown and we’ll be without our best rebounder in Horace Spencer. It will complicate things even further."
Asked who he plans to use as the second center behind LaRon Smith, Pearl replied, "I probably won't say just from the standpoint of scouting but we'll have to make those adjustments," he added of his plans. "I'll have to find 20 minutes at the five (center) and I'll have to find 20 minutes at the two (shooting guard)."
Devin Waddell, a senior walk-on forward who has significant playing experience in previous seasons, is one of the possibilities at center long with freshman forward Anfernee McLemore. Other possibilities at guard include using one of the point guards, Jared Harper or Ronnie Johnson, in a two-guard role or playing walk-ons Patrick Keim or Will Macoy. New Williams, a scholarship sophomore guard, saw action last season, but has not played in a game so far for the 2016-17 Tigers.