By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's freshmen and veterans found a happy mix beyond the 3-point line Friday night.
The Tigers hit 10 3-pointers in the first half and didn't let up in the second half to run past North Florida 83-66 in the season-opener for both teams in Auburn Arena.
Auburn finished with 13-pointers, and Bryce Brown and TJ Lang, the veterans; and Danjel Purifoy and Mustapha Heron, the freshmen, combined for 12 of those.
Brown led the way with 19 points. Four Tigers scored in double figures.
"We can make shots. We really can," said coach Bruce Pearl.
And Purifoy playing a big guard, "we can put four guys out there who can really shoot it. That's fun."
Pearl said when Purifoy was on the floor "we were plus-26. We scored better with him out there."
Purifoy finished with 14 points and Harper and Jared Heron scored 10 each.
Pearl bragged on his defense, too, especially through the first 25 minutes when Auburn led by 30.
"I thought our defense in the first half was tremendous," Pearl said. "In the second half, we didn't play as well defensively, and I was disappointed with our rebounding, but to hold a team that averages 84 to 66 is good
"To turn them over 28 times, that's pretty good."
North Florida outrebounded 42-36 -- "We're going to have to do some soul searching," Pearl said -- but Auburn made up for that by firing up 32 3-pointers. North Florida hit six of its 20 3-point attempts.
North Florida tried to make a game out of it from there, but it was hardly enough.
Brown got things started with two quick 3s to open the game. And the Tigers just kept shooting.
"I thought Bryce played well. I thought he responded really well to the start. Defensively, he was really good," Pearl said.
Brown and Lang had three 3s in the first half. Purifoy and Heron had two 3-pointers in the early going as well. The 10 3-pointers in the first half were the third most in any half in Auburn history.
Auburn let its intentions known early, hitting three 3-pointers in the first 3½ minutes.
Auburn broke away from a 19-19 tie to take a 49-30 lead at the break. Who had hit the 3-pointers by then? Just about everybody.
Brown had 11 by half. Purifoy and Heron had 10 each.
Auburn returns to action against Georgia State at 8 p.m. Monday in Auburn Arena.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine