In their final game before they open the Southeastern Conference basketball season on Dec. 29th vs. Georgia, the Auburn Tigers will look for a third consecutive victory as they take on the UConn Huskies on Friday.
Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. CST on Friday at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. The Tigers, who are 9-2, will be facing an opponent that brings a 5-5 record into the contest.
Coach Bruce Pearl and his staff immediately turned their attention to the Huskies on Wednesday night after a 74-70 victory over Oklahoma because of the quick-turnaround time between their two games in the state of Connecticut.
The Auburn coach noted that he liked his team’s defense, but wasn’t as pleased with the offensive execution vs. the Sooners. However, he said, “We made some big, timely shots.”
Two players who earned praised for making timely shots are freshman point guard Jared Harper and senior T.J. Dunans, who finished with 21 points apiece vs. Oklahoma.
For Dunans, it was his second straight season high for points scored after finishing with 13 vs. Mercer. Harper matched his season high from the Nov. 29th victory over USC-Upstate.
“Now we need Jared to go back-to-back because he has had a great game and the next game he is not as effective,” Pearl said.
Jared Harper is averaging 11.9 points per game.
Friday’s contest, which will be televised on ESPN2, will be just the second matching the Tigers and Huskies. UConn defeated Auburn 95-81 in November 1989 at the Great Alaska Shootout.
Connecticut walloped North Florida, 80-59, in its last game. That is the only common opponent between the Tigers and Huskies. Auburn defeated North Florida 83-66 in the regular season opener.
Five Connecticut players scored in double figures vs. North Florida led by 6-10 senior forward Kentan Facey’s career-high 20 to go with nine rebounds. Jalen Adams, a 6-3 sophomore guard, leads the Huskies in scoring at 17.4 points per contest.
The Huskies have plenty of height with seven-footer Amida Brimah (7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds) at center and 6-8 Vance Jackson (6.4 points, 2.7 rebounds) at forward. One of the top subs is 6-11 sophomore Steven Enoch (3.0 points, 3.1 rebounds).
Since opening the season with a 2-4 record, the Huskies have turned up the heat defensively to win three of their last four games by holding opponents to 31.1 percent shooting on those four contests.