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'Keep doing what we're doing' - Danjel Purifoy, Tigers travel to No. 23 South Carolina
After missing two weeks with an ankle injury, Danjel Purifoy scored five points in Auburn's win over Alabama.
Jan. 24, 2017

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - Danjel Purifoy's ankle was fine. It's his ears that were hurting.

"I yelled at him more that game than I have all year because I expect so much from him," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "And I know what he's capable of, and make winning plays in many, many ways."

Purifoy played 29 minutes Saturday in Auburn's 84-64 win over Alabama, returning to the lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury suffered against Ole Miss two weeks earlier.

"It was very fun," Purifoy said. "When I first got in the game, and everybody started cheering for me, that's when I just stopped thinking about my ankle and just went out and played."

Purifoy, who grew up an Auburn fan in Centreville, Ala. - a 40-minute drive from Tuscaloosa - scored five points with three rebounds and three steals against Alabama.

"No pain," Purifoy said. "We were playing Alabama so I didn't care. I couldn't feel anything. It was a big win, me coming back and helping the team get this win. Especially just because we were at home playing Alabama. Everybody wanted to see us beat Alabama and that's what we came out and did."

After winning three of its past four SEC games, Auburn (13-6, 3-4) travels to Columbia, S.C., Tuesday to play No. 23 South Carolina (15-4, 5-1) at 5:30 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.

"We've just got to keep doing what we're doing," Purifoy said. "We've got to guard like we said in those last eight minutes (against Alabama). If we do that, we can't be beat."

"The last eight minutes we played really well," Pearl said. "To see the culmination of what the crowd is capable of doing, and then the joy that everybody experienced in the postgame. It was a fun thing to be a part of, and a wonderful thing just to enjoy it with them."

 

 

Pearl will rely on Purifoy's ability to guard South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell, who averages 19.4 points.

"Offensively, he (Danjel) lets me and us do a lot of things that we can't do without him," Pearl said. "Defensively, he can guard multiple positions. He can guard inside, and when South Carolina goes small with Thornwell at the four, they're big at times. When he plays the four, they're sometimes even more dangerous."

Pearl said Auburn's keys against the Gamecocks will be handling South Carolina's pressure, being physical, scoring and avoiding a slow start.

"It's very difficult to go on the road and play a team in the top two or three in the league and not start well," he said. "We have to start well. That's been a problem for us, especially as young as we start. Those are the challenges that we've got."

Auburn's road trip continues Saturday at TCU in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

"That's the grind, that's the beauty of it," said Pearl, of facing back-to-back opponents with top 30 RPIs. "That's the opportunity.

"We're almost in February and we're playing for postseason at Auburn. And that's where we want to be."

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

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