By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Guard Kareem Canty said after the last game he wanted to get Cinmeon Bowers more involved in Auburn's basketball plans.
Consider it done.
Bowers recorded his first double-double of the season to help Auburn beat Georgia Southern 92-62 Friday night in front of 7,806 fans in Auburn Arena.
Bowers, who had 14 double-doubles last season, finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds in Auburn's third game.
"It was good to get our double-double guy back," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "We did what we were supposed to do.
"He was much more focused, and when Cim is engaged defensively, we're a lot better."
Bowers had 11 points and six points in Auburn's first game. He had five points and one rebound in the second game.
He was back to his old form in Game 3.
"I just put the last two games behind me," Bowers said. "I didn't play well. You can't do it in the past. Move on. Keep pushing."
Auburn improved to 2-1. Georgia Southern fell to 1-2.
Auburn led 37-36 at the half. Then, methodically, Auburn pulled away in behind a fine defensive effort that held the Eagles to 23.3 percent shooting in the second half. Blocking nine shots was a big part of that. Horace Spencer and T.J. Dunans each had three of those. Pearl credited guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen for spreading the defensive word.
"It's probably the best we've played defensively so far," Pearl said. "We contested shots.
"It was great having Horace back there again -- and T.J. Dunans -- just cleaning things up. Having Tahj back, we're defensive minded. And it's contagious."
Dunans, as Pearl says, was a "stat stuffer" with 14 points, five assists, four rebounds and two assists. Canty scored 14 points and Bryce Brown came off the bench late to score 11.
Auburn led 37-36 at the half. Then, methodically, Auburn pulled away in behind a fine defensive effort that held the Eagles to 23.3 percent shooting in the second half.
The Tigers led 73-53 with 7:35 remaining.
Neither team was afraid to shoot the 3, at least not in the first half, when 31 of those long-range shots were launched. Eleven of those found the basket. The uneven half ended almost even.
Auburn didn't fool around to start the second half, hitting five of its first seven shots, and going on an early 9-0 run for a 51-43 lead with 16:20 left. It was 64-48 with 10:46 remaining.
Auburn was in position to take control in the first half with a 7-0 run that stretched its lead to 25-17 with seven minutes left. But, after taking a 10-point lead, Georgia Southern reeled off a 7-point run of its own. Auburn 37-36 at the half.
The Tigers' next game is at home against Northwestern State next Friday night at 7:30.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine