TEL AVIV, Israel — Auburn forced 30 turnovers and steadily pulled away to defeat the Israeli All-Star Select Team Sunday 107-71 at Hader Yosef Gym, improving to 2-0 on its tour of Israel.
“Our defense was good,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “We had guys like Zep Jasper, Tre Donaldson, Chris Moore, K.D., Yo and Dylan. Those guys really picked us up defensively and made plays with their athleticism, effort and energy.”
Freshman Chance Westry made seven of Auburn’s 18 steals and scored 18 points.
“Listening to coach, playing hard, and spreading the floor are the main factors,” Westry said. “It means a lot to us when we play hard and communicate. By pressuring the offensive player, they’re going to get tired and turn it over sooner or later. Bringing pressure to the other team and making them frustrated is the goal for us.”
Fellow freshman Yohan Traore led the Tigers with 20 points. Johni Broome scored 18 of 9-of-13 shooting.
“It’s all about confidence,” said Traore, who also scored 20 to lead the Tigers in Tuesday’s 117-56 victory vs. Israel’s U-20 National Team. “I came ready to play, ready to help my teammates win. Just bringing some great energy, playing hard and playing defense. We were locked in on defense.”
Auburn generated 46 points off Israel’s 30 turnovers. KD Johnson scored 15 points, the fourth Tiger in double figures. Dylan Cardwell led the Tigers with nine rebounds.
Traore scored 11 points in the first quarter to stake Auburn to a 24-18 lead. The Tigers ended the quarter on a 7-0 run on Westry’s 3-pointer, Traore’s bucket, Westry’s steal and layup, and Cardwell’s steal and slam.
“All three of the freshmen are talented kids,” Pearl said of Traore, Westry and Donaldson. “They’re mature kids. They’ve got a little experience. Our veterans have welcomed and trained them. You could see the talent.”
Broome’s putback jump hook and Jasper’s steal and assist to Wendell Green Jr. extended Auburn’s lead to nine at 32-23 before the home team used a 13-0 run to take a 36-32 lead.
“Johni went crazy,” Traore said of his fellow Auburn newcomer. “Rebounding, blocks, hitting shots. He was incredible.”
Auburn answered with a 14-0 run to build a double-digit lead. Johnson hit a pair of 3s during the run. The Tigers forced 19 turnovers in the first half leading to 33 points.
Allen Flanigan beat the buzzer with a dunk after a long pass from Green to put the Tigers on top 53-41 at intermission.
The Tigers increased their advantage to 15 in the third quarter with Johnson hitting a 3-pointer and making a steal and layup. Flanigan’s drive put Auburn ahead 74-54 late in the third quarter.
Auburn’s international trip concludes Monday at noon CT vs. the Israel National Team on SEC Network.
“It’s going to be a great challenge,” Traore said. “This is going to be the best team we’ve played so far. I’m excited and looking forward to playing.”
“That team is going to be 30 or 40 points better than the team we just played tonight,” said Pearl, previewing Monday’s matchup. “It’s so great to be over here. The enthusiasm for Israeli basketball is very high. It’ great to have ESPN alongside of us. It’s been the trip of a lifetime.”