Auburn, Ala.--Suspended for the last two games after being arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, Auburn sophomore guard Bryce Brown and sophomore forward Horace Spencer have been reinstated said Coach Bruce Pearl and both will make the trip to Connecticut this week as the Tigers face Oklahoma and UConn in non-conference action.
Still undecided on their roles moving forward, Pearl said both have to earn the right to get back into the mix now that other guys have stepped up in their place.
“They’re off suspension," Pearl said. "The suspension meaning my own, them being away from the team. They’ve served that and now they come back. But when they do come back, their roles are going to be different. It’s not unfortunately just the incident and then the suspension and all the unfortunate that they went through with it, they gave up what they had. They got to work their way back now. Because other guys have stepped in and were ready, you got to put yourself in a position.
"People think we make the decision as far as who plays, players make those decisions for us all the time. I follow real closely the work ethic. I know who is in the gym and who isn’t in the gym. I know who is spending extra time with our trainers and who aren’t. I know what their grade point averages are and who is competing in the classroom.
"I know who is leading us in community service. As a coach, you take all that stuff in and then there are some things on the negative side too that you got to put up with – their limitations on the floor and other things that players make decision as who plays.”
Two of Auburn's most proven players entering the season, both have struggled with consistency to start the year with Brown averaging just 6.9 points per game and shooting only 28.6 percent from behind the arc. Spencer is averaging 5.9 points per game and 4.8 rebounds in 20 minutes of action while blocking 14 shots.
Without the two players Auburn won a pair of games, beating Coastal Carolina handily 117-72 on Thursday before T.J. Dunans game-winner on Sunday in a 76-74 win over Mercer.
The Tigers return to action this week with two games in Connecticut, facing Oklahoma on Dec. 21 in the Hall of Fame Birthday of Basketball at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville. That game will be televised by CBS Sports Network. On Friday Auburn will face Connecticut in Hartford in a game televised on ESPN2.