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Points aplenty in first Auburn Basketball scrimmage
Senior T.J. Dunans led the Tigers with 36 points on 16-of-19 shooting from the floor in the first intrasquad scrimmage of the season.
Oct. 1, 2016

AUBURN, Ala. – T.J. Dunans scored 36 points, LaRon Smith had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Danjel Purifoy and Mustapha Heron 22 points apiece in Auburn’s first intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday in Auburn Arena.

TJ Lang added 18 points on 3-of-7 3s, Ronnie Johnson 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals while Jared Harper totaled 13 points, nine assists and only one turnover. Anfernee McLemore had 9 points and 13 rebounds, and Horace Spencer 10 points, six rebounds and three assists.

“The pace was good,” said Pearl of the scrimmage that included a pair of 20-minute halves. “We have a lot of work to do physically and mentally. There are just a ton of new parts. I scrimmaged with officials the second day of practice because we have played so many few games together. It is the first time these guys are playing together. Too many fouls, not getting adjusted to hand checking, verticality and a lot of different things.

“I thought that Jared Harper, T.J. Dunans, Mustapha Heron, Danjel Purifoy and LaRon Smith, those five guys probably had the best day at their positions.”

Dunans, who scored 24 points in the second half, only missed three of his 19 shots from the field for the game and was 2-of-4 from 3-point range while dishing out five assists with three steals.

‘I think we did well for the first scrimmage,” said Dunans. “We had nice chemistry. I felt good. I was trying to be in the right places on defense and be aggressive, attacking the glass and making the right pass.”

Smith, a Bethune-Cookman graduate transfer who ranked third in the nation in blocks and led the MEAC shooting 58.5 percent from the floor but only 26.5 percent from the foul line last season, was 7-of-9 from the floor and 12-of-15 from the free throw line.

“It was pretty good and a good look at the team,” said Smith. “I feel like we need to focus more on defense so that it going to be my main focus now. I had some other goals that I accomplished today so I feel pretty good.

“I am getting more confident with free throw shooting. So, once I knew I could make free throws, I feel like my low post game is going to come together because now I can draw fouls easy so that is going to help me out.”

Purifoy’s line included 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range as he had six rebounds, four assists, two steals, an assist and block.

Heron was 8-of-14 from the floor, 2-of-6 from behind the arc and made all four foul shots. The Waterbury, Conn., freshman also had seven rebounds and 20 of his points came in the second half in which the teams were evenly matched.

“I felt good,” said Heron. “My team got a good win, and I think we played hard on both ends of the floor. Of course, we have a lot of improvement to do before our first game, but I think we are rolling right now.

“I thought I played well. I was comfortable out there and as the days go on as we practice more, keeping working out and getting more comfortable and just trying to roll from here.”

The Tigers shot 56.5 percent from the floor, 39.1 percent from 3-point range and 69.2 percent from the foul line and had 28 assists to 17 turnovers with 15 steals.

Auburn plays its lone exhibition game vs. Div. II Montevallo on Nov. 4 prior to opening the season with three-straight home games vs. back-to-back Atlantic Sun Champion North Florida on Nov. 11 followed by a pair of Cancun Challenge games vs. Georgia State on Nov. 14 and Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 17.

Georgia State has won 25 games in two of the last three seasons and defeated Baylor in the 2015 NCAA Tournament while Eastern Kentucky has won 21 or more games in three of the last four years.

Auburn, which sold out of season tickets in back-to-back seasons, both under Pearl, for the first time in school history, has season tickets available at or calling 855-AUB-2010.



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