By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Danjel Purifoy was hot and, this time, the rest of the Auburn basketball team was toasty, too.
Auburn set a school record and matched an SEC mark with 21 3-pointers in an eye-popping 117-72 win over Coastal Carolina on Thursday night in Auburn Arena. Purifoy scored 27 points for the second straight game, hit five of those 3-pointers for good measure and was in the middle of 23-0 first-half run that knocked out Coastal.
"It's crazy the things he can do," said teammate Anfernee McLemore. "He does amazing things on the court."
Jared Harper set the tone with three quick 3-pointers. The Tigers just kept shooting. Reserve Will McCoy broke the school 3-point record with three minutes left.
"We weren't expecting that 3-point barrage," said Cliff Ellis, the Coastal Carolina coach who was once at Auburn.
Nine Tigers hit at least one 3.
"It was 25-22 and then all of the sudden it just went haywire," Ellis said. "I think everybody started feeling the magic, and we couldn't buy it. It got away from us."
The Tigers improved to 7-2. Coastal fell to 5-7.
Auburn didn't miss Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer, who were suspended earlier in the week after being arrested for misdemeanor possession. McLemore and T.J. Dunans and others easily picked up the slack. It was also a rebound performance from a last-second loss to Boston College on Monday night in Madison Square Garden.
"From the standpoint of what it is supposed to look like, what it can look like, that was about as good as it has gotten since I've been here," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "I didn't see coming, given all the adversity we've had this week. But adversity tends to reveal character. Perhaps in some ways our character got revealed tonight."
Purifoy's 27 led the way. Mustapha Heron added 17. Ronnie Johnson had 11 and Dunans had 10. McLemore filled in nicely with nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
The Tigers went on a 23-0 run to take a 48-22 lead, made it a 29-2 run for a 54-24 lead and finished the first half on a 31-5 run to make it 56-27 at the half.
Purifoy picked up where he left off from Monday's 27-point performance in Madison Square Garden. He had 17 points early Thursday.
"He had 17 at halftime. I wouldn't have guessed seven," Pearl said. "Just quiet, because he lets it come to him. Then there were times he was feeling it, and he had the freedom and ability to get those tough plays."
Purifoy had 25 points with 14 minutes to play.
"My gosh, he's a weapon. There's a lot of weapons out there," Ellis said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine