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Auburn bids for third straight win in meeting with USC

auburn-bids-for-third-straight-win-in-meeting-with-usc

Auburn aims for its third consecutive win on Sunday when welcomes a Southern California team looking to avoid a third straight loss.

The Tigers (7-2) bounced back from a Dec. 3 loss at Appalachian State with a 104-76 rout of Indiana on Dec. 9 and an 87-62 blowout of UNC Asheville on Wednesday.

Auburn’s two high-scoring wins improved its offensive output this season to 82.3 points per game, with seven Tigers contributing an average of at least 7.1 points.

Johni Broome’s 15.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game set the pace for the Tigers, although he scored just two and six points in the wins over Indiana and UNC Asheville. Auburn showed off its depth with Tre Donaldson, averaging 8.2 points per game for the season, scoring a career-high 15 on Wednesday.

“We take pride in that role,” Donaldson said via AuburnTigers.com. “Just being the energy guys coming off the bench and not allowing a drop-off from the first group to the second group.”

USC (5-4) added to its own rotation in the Trojans’ last outing, welcoming freshman Bronny James into the lineup for his collegiate debut last Sunday vs. Long Beach State.

James, the son of NBA star LeBron James, made a 3-pointer and provided defensive energy in his first game since suffering cardiac arrest in July. His four-point, two-steal effort was spoiled when USC coughed up a 17-point lead before falling, 84-79.

The defeat was the Trojans’ second straight, coming off an 89-76 wire-to-wire loss on Dec. 2 vs. Gonzaga in Las Vegas.

USC shot just 26-of-64 from the floor and a dismal 20-of-36 at the free-throw line in the loss to Long Beach State.

“We’ve been shooting well throughout the year. I think we were at 74 percent as a team before (playing Long Beach State),” USC coach Andy Enfield said in his postgame press conference. The Trojans’ average dipped below 71 percent following the loss. “It’s a very frustrating sequence when you keep missing free shots.”

Meanwhile, USC is seeking consistent offense behind the backcourt trio of Boogie Ellis, Isaiah Collier and Kobe Johnson. The three are posting 21.4, 17 and 12.3 points per game.

After Vincent Iwuchukwu’s 7.6, however, the next-highest scoring Trojan — Joshua Morgan at 6.1 — scores less than Auburn’s top seven scorers.

–Field Level Media

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