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Auburn plans to use exhibition game as a `learning process'
Point guard Jared Harper finished with 20 points and a team-high seven assists in Thursday's exhibition game. Photo: Cat Wofford/Auburn Athletics
Nov. 2, 2017

By Greg Ostendorf

AUBURN, Ala. -- Thursday's 100-95 overtime loss to Barry University wasn't the outcome many had hoped to see from Auburn basketball in its 2017-2018 debut, but it was an exhibition game. It was a chance to learn and get better before the regular season kicks off a week from Friday against Norfolk State.

"It was a good exhibition, and it was good exposure for us," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. "It showed us a where a lot of our weaknesses are."

"I really feel like today was a learning process," added sophomore forward Anfernee McLemore. "We need to just use this game and move forward -- find out what we messed up on, what we can improve on and correct the mistakes before our first game."

McLemore was one of four Auburn players in double figures in the game. He went 6 of 9 from the field and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Mustapha Heron and Jared Harper led the way with 21 and 20 points respectively while fellow backcourt mate Bryce Brown chipped in 10 points on the night.

Defensively, the Tigers forced 22 turnovers, but they struggled to defend the 3-point shot throughout the game and especially towards the end. The game would've been over had Barry guard Sawyer Glick not hit a 3-point shot as time expired in regulation. Glick scored a game-high 32 points.

"I'm really disappointed in the defense because we made so much progress," Pearl said.

There's still reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season, though. All nine players who got into the game scored. In addition to his 20 points, Harper dished out seven assists and looked good as the floor general. And the two freshmen, Davion Mitchell and Chuma Okeke, both played well in spurts and showed plenty of potential.

Okeke, in particular, played some important minutes down the stretch and finished with seven points and seven rebounds.

"We've got a good team," Pearl said. "We lost to a good team. I think we have reason to be optimistic because we have a lot of weapons. We've got good depth. I'd say about half the roster didn't play as well as they typically play. We had four or five guys that did not play well. That doesn't happen very often. And so I think that contributes a lot."

Auburn will open the regular season next Friday at home against Norfolk State.

Greg Ostendorf is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter:



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