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On Point: Ronnie Johnson, Jared Harper, give Auburn 1-2 point guard punch
In Auburn's past 10 games, point guard Ronnie Johnson is averaging 10 points per game.
Feb. 10, 2017

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - By this point last season, Auburn was so desperate for point guards, Bruce Pearl called on power forward Cinmeon Bowers to handle the ball and run the offense.

This season, Pearl’s point guards – plural – are helping Auburn remain in the conversation for postseason play.

Graduate transfer Ronnie Johnson shares point guard duties with Jared Harper, a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week.

“The chemistry is great with me and (Harper),” Johnson said. “He’s a great player.”

The starter, Harper, averages 12.7 points and 2.7 assists per game. Johnson has been coming on strong, averaging 10 point and 3 assists in Auburn’s past 10 games.

“I really don’t think we drop off when we go to the bench,” Pearl said. “We get different, but we don’t drop off. That’s a great place to be. That makes your locker room so healthy when everybody feels like they’re contributing and we’ve got one mission.”

In Auburn’s 98-92 win Tuesday over Mississippi State, Johnson led Auburn with eight assists in 17 minutes, adding six points and four rebounds.

“When we come in, it definitely helps us out a little offensively and defensively,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to keep that mindset of trying to alter the game. Help the lead, not hurt the lead.

“The chemistry is becoming stronger the more games we close out together,” Johnson said. “Everyone is getting a better understanding of how to win. Everybody knowing each other’s strengths.”

 

 

Winners of five their last seven games, Auburn travels to Oxford, Miss., Saturday at 5 p.m. on the SEC Network, looking to avenge an 88-85 home loss to the Rebels on January 7.

“We’ve got to get off to a good start,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to crash the glass on them. I think we can take advantage of the opportunities that we have on offense, and capitalize with big Austin (Wiley) down there. On the defensive end, we’ve got to pick it up against them and show them that we can get stops.”

Johnson, who began his career at Purdue before transferring to Houston, is impressed with Auburn’s five freshmen.

“(Austin Wiley) is a big presence down there, defensive and offensively. I think all of the freshman are coming along,” Johnson said. “We’re just trying to keep this thing going and see if we can get these next couple wins.”

Auburn will again be without forward Horace Spencer, who has missed two games after injuring his shoulder against Tennessee on Jan. 31. Pearl said doctors are determining whether Spencer may need surgery.

The Tigers return to Auburn Arena Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Florida.

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

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