AUBURN, Ala. — The first twenty seconds of the big matchup between the Tigers and Razorbacks was a perfect indication of how Saturday night would go for Auburn. With it being an “All Auburn, All Orange” night on the plains, the Jungle was absolutely rocking inside Neville Arena. This incredible home court advantage combined with a great all-around performace on the floor provided for an epic victory, moving Auburn to 12-3 on the season and 2-1 in the SEC. Arkansas moved to 12-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Wendell Green Jr., starting point guard for the Tigers, put Auburn on the board quickly with a 4-point play after just nineteen seconds of play and the team, nor Green, never looked back. The Tigers led from start to finish in what is definitely Auburn’s best performance all year. Ahead 36-25 at the break, Auburn stayed consistent and managed to outscore the Hogs by 2 in the second half.
Wendell Green bounced back enormously from a poor game at Georgia, dropping 19 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Green shot 5-8 from the floor and 2-4 from behind the arc, looking like a totally different player than in Athens.
Green’s strong showing was accompanied by a productive performance from Auburn guard, Allen Flanigan, shooting 5-9 from the field and 3-6 from deep, contributing 18 points and 8 rebounds. The Arkansas native has now had two straight games where he looks like the player all of the NBA scouts were crazy about a few years ago. Flanigan, who said that he took this game personally due to his history with Arkansas, looks like he’s starting to get into a consistent rythym.
True freshman guard, Anthony Black, played an outstanding game for the Razorbacks, posting 23 points with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Black went the foul line a lot with 13 of those 23 points coming from the stripe. However, it wasn’t enough to carry Arkansas to a win.
The Hogs aren’t a 3-point shooting team, and it was evident as Arkansas was 2-16 from behind the arc, the only two 3-balls coming from Junior guard, Ricky Council IV. Meanwhile, Auburn was 33% from three, making 7 out of 21 attempts.
Rebounding was one aspect of the game that Arkansas did get the edge in, pulling in 45 rebounds total to Auburn’s 32. The Razorbacks killed the Tigers on the offensive glass, outrebounding Auburn 17-7. Arkansas had planty of opportunities for second chance points but couldn’t manage to capitilize against Auburn’s bigs, particularly Johni Broome, who recorded 6 blocks on the night.
As previously mentioned, this was by far Auburn’s most complete game so far this season. The Tigers limited their turnovers to just 8, played intense defense, and managed to shoot much better than previous games. Auburn shot 43% from the field, making 24-55 while Arkansas shot 33%, only making 19 field goals.
Overall, this win was big for Auburn. Not because Arkansas is this amazing team or anything, like Razorback fans may suggest, but because it was a big confidence booster coming off a simply terrible game at Stegemen Coliseum. In addition, it also extended their home win streak to 27 games.
Now the question is… which Auburn squad will show up night in and night out? Will it be the atrocious, poorly shooting team that we saw in Athens or will it be the confident team that can make shots and protect the basketball that we saw on Saturday?