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'Fun to watch': Jared Harper's 14 assists lead No. 11 Auburn past Vanderbilt
Feb. 3, 2018

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - A season-high 17 3-pointers helped No. 11 Auburn remain perfect at home in Saturday's 93-81 win over Vanderbilt at Auburn Arena.


Bryce Brown scored 25 points, Mustapha Heron scored 23, and Jared Harper had a career-high 14 assists, helping Auburn improve to 12-0 at home.

"I thought Jared Harper was fun to watch out there," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "Had great command over his team. Got the ball to the hot hand."

Auburn shot 65.4 percent (17-for-26) on 3-pointers. Brown made 5 of 7 and Heron hit 4 of 6.

"That was the easy part," said Harper. "The harder part is making the shots. When you have guys like Staph [Heron] and Bryce having another big second half, it makes it easy for me."

Brown and Heron combined for 30 in the second half, helping the Tigers maintain a double-digit lead. Heron scored 13 straight for Auburn in the half, then Brown took over with 15 consecutive points.

"I think we have a team that everybody can heat it up," said Heron, who along with Brown was 8-for-12 from the field. "Tonight was just Bryce's and my night. With Jared having 14 assists, it was just that type of night."

The Tigers began the second half of SEC play with their 16th double-digit win. At 9-1 in the Southeastern Conference, Auburn leads Tennessee by two games and Kentucky, Alabama and Florida by three.

The victory will likely propel Auburn into the top 10 on Monday.

"There are some really good teams on this back nine," Pearl said, using a golf analogy. "We really don't have a bogey yet, but these holes are getting tougher."

The Tigers led by 10 at the half after hitting 8 of 14 3-pointers. Harper scored 13 in the first half while Heron and Chuma Okeke each added 10.

Harper banked in his third 3 to put Auburn up 21-8. Heron beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer for Auburn's next basket.

The sellout crowd, Auburn's fourth consecutive, made its loudest cheers after Harper's steal and long pass to Heron for a layup gave the Tigers a 26-9 lead.

Auburn led by as many as 22 before an 11-0 Vandy run trimmed the Tigers' lead to single digits.

Okeke gathered a loose ball and hit Auburn's eighth 3-pointer at the end of the half to give Auburn a 45-35 lead. He scored 12.

Vandy's Jeff Roberson had a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.

Auburn looks to improve to 13-0 at home Wednesday against Texas A&M at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


 

 

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