Five players reached double figures, led by Bryce Brown with 19, as Auburn coasted to a 98-77 victory against Cornell Saturday to close out its non-conference schedule.
The Tigers (12-1) picked up their 12th win before the calendar year for the first time since 1998 and just the third time in program history (1995).
“We played well,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “The most important thing is that we got back from the break, we took our opponent seriously and we took care of business.
“I’m very proud of that because coming to Auburn was to bring credibility and competitiveness to our basketball program. Now we move into league play, and the league is the best it’s been and the deepest it’s been. It’s going to be a grind night in and night out. Physically, it’s going to be a challenge, but I think we are also prepared.”
Mustapha Heron added 17 points and four rebounds, while Jared Harper and Horace Spencer contributed 12 points apiece. Harper also added seven assists and Spencer touted nine rebounds.
Chuma Okeke produced his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Anfernee McLemore also had eight points to go along with five rebounds and five blocks.
As a team, Auburn outrebounded Cornell (5-7) by a 47-30 margin. The Tigers also went 20 of 26 from the charity stripe and had 20 assists.
“I feel like today we took that extra step, crossed that line, hit each other a little more,” Brown stated. “I felt like we shared the ball probably better than we have all season and today showed it.”
Despite trading buckets for the opening six minutes, Auburn outscored Cornell 32-20 to take a 47-35 lead into the locker room. At the break, the Tigers showed balance as all nine players scored at least three points and no player had 10 or more points after the first 20 minutes.
Auburn roared out of the intermission and scored 41 of the next 54 points to take a 88-49 lead with just under 10 minutes to play.
Cornell chipped away, but the Tigers closed out the game, 98-77.