Auburn, Ala.--Auburn will open its SEC basketball schedule on Thursday sporting a 10-2 record, the second highest victory total of any team in the league as the Tigers take on the 8-4 Georgia Bulldogs.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CST and the game will be televised on ESPNU as the Tigers look for a fifth straight victory. Georgia will be trying to rebound from an 86-79 road loss in Rochester, Mich., vs. Oakland.
Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers will come into the contest following two hard-fought wins in the state of Connecticut last week vs. Oklahoma and UConn Huskies. Among SEC teams only the Arkansas Razorbacks, who are 11-1, have more victories this season. Kentucky also has a 10-2 record while South Carolina is expected to enter league play with the same record after the Gamecocks play a Tuesday game vs. Lander.
Freshmen are leading the Tigers in scoring and rebounding. Mustapha Heron, a six-foot-five guard, is No. 1 in points per contest at 15.9 per game and is also the top rebounder at 6.8 per contest.
Redshirt freshman foward Danjel Purifoy is the No. scorer at 14.7 points per outing and the No. 2 rebounder with 6.2 per game. He is the top free throw shooter on the squad at 87.3 percent.
Danjel Purifoy leads the team in minutes played with an average of 30.6 per game.
Auburn’s No. 3 scorer, freshman point guard Jared Harper, is averaging 12.8 points per contest following a season-high 22 in a 70-67 overtime win vs. UConn. Harper, the SEC Freshman of the Week, scored 21 points vs. Oklahoma and leads the Tigers in assists (37) and steals (21).
Pearl noted that his team, which started four freshmen the past two games with the addition of 6-11 center Austin Wiley to the roster, is a work in progress. “We are not executing well offensively and we are not valuing possessions, but we have got some chemistry and character,” the coach said.
Georgia will arrive at Auburn Arena with one of the league’s top big men, 6-8, 240-pound junior Yante Maten, who is averaging 19.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He is hitting 57.7 percent of his field goals.
J.J. Frazier, a 5-10 senior guard, is averaging 15.1 points and 4.7 assists. Like Maten, he was a preseason All-SEC first team selection by the league’s coaches.
The Bulldogs are averaging 73.4 points per game and are allowing 67.4. Auburn and Georgia have not faced a common opponent this season.
SEC Basketball Records:
South Carolina 9-2
Ole Miss 9-3
Mississippi State 8-3
Texas A&M 8-3