T.J. Dunans was flying high with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Georgia Southern last time out
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Bruce Pearl calls T.J. Dunans his "stat sheet stuffer." Why so? Let us count the ways…
Dunans is averaging 15.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3 assists and a block per game. He'll try to continue to fill up the stat sheet against Northwestern State at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Auburn Arena in a game that will be televised by the SEC Network.
What may not show up on the Dunans' stat sheet the last time out, a 92-62 win over Georgia Southern, was his defense.
"Very engaged," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.
Pearl says Dunans has played his best defense in Auburn's two wins, over Georgia Southern and UAB. The loss to Colorado was different. But, Pearl said, "He really accepted coaching. He accepted the challenges and went to work."
Dunans says he wants to be that complete player.
"We are really working on defense making sure to keep everybody out of the middle and playing a little more physical. We've been working on defense a lot," Dunans said.
"It's really about your mindset. You've got to have the mindset to play defense."
Auburn fans may remember Northwestern State's last visit to Auburn Arena. The Tigers didn't play much defense that November night in 2013 when the Demons scored 72 points in the second half and won 111-92. Only two players remain on Auburn's roster from that game. And Pearl is now the head coach.
"The focus is really on us, it's not so much on the opponent right now in the sense of our progress," Pearl said.
Auburn is 2-1 in this early going. Northwestern State is 1-4.
Defense aside, Dunans says he's still working on his shot, though he's one of four double-figure scoring Tigers.
"I'm trying to get my shot more consistent so teams won't sag off of me. I'm just trying to be a knock-down shooter."
Pearl said guard New Williams, who has been out with a knee injury, practiced this week, but didn't promise a return Friday.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine