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Tiger trio: Auburn basketball takeaways - New lineup, fast start, 'Microwave' Mitchell
Above the rim: Making his first start, Anfernee McLemore blocked five shots without fouling in Auburn's win over George Mason. Photo: Cat Wofford/Auburn Athletics
Dec. 4, 2017

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - A trio of Jared Harper 3-pointers helped Auburn win Sunday for the sixth time in seven games. After George Mason erased a 22-point lead to go up 52-49, Harper tied it at 52 and the Tigers never trailed again, winning 79-63.

"I just knew I needed one to go down for me," said Harper, whose next 3-pointer came with the shot clock expiring, giving Auburn a 71-63 lead with 2:00 remaining. "I knew at some point I was going to make shots. I've been in the gym a lot, so I knew at some point I was going to knock the shots down that I'm accustomed to making."

Harper added another late 3 to end with 10 points, one of four Tigers in double figures. Auburn (6-1) plays Gardner-Webb Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Auburn Arena on SECN+.

New Starting Lineup

For the first time this season, Auburn changed its starting lineup, with Anfernee McLemore joining Jared Harper, Bryce Brown, Mustapha Heron and Desean Murray.

McLemore earned the nod by notching his first career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds against Dayton.

Making his second career start, the 6-7 sophomore contributed six points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

McLemore, as usual, was a factor at both ends, altering several shots in addition to his blocks, without fouling.

To make room for McLemore in the starting lineup, Horace Spencer graciously accepted a different role, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said.

 

 

"[McLemore] deserves it because he's been playing well," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "Horace was unbelievable in understanding it. I was really pleased with Horace's leadership in accepting that."

Spencer added three points, three rebounds and two assists with no turnovers and no fouls in 12 minutes.

"Did a nice job," Pearl said. "That's something to build on."

Hot Start

Auburn's new lineup produced immediate results. The Tigers scored the first 16 points against George Mason.

Bryce Brown's 3-pointer gave Auburn a 16-0 lead. The Tigers extended their lead to 22 points in the first 9 minutes.

Mustapha Heron scored 11 of his game-high 19 in the first half.

"The guys had a greater understanding and a greater willingness to be able to do the things we need to do to be a really good team," Pearl said. "The way the game started, it couldn't have gone any better. We played so well, so balanced, so hard, with such purpose. We were so disruptive to the opponent."

'Microwave' Mitchell

Davion Mitchell scored all 10 points in the first half, finishing with an assist and only one turnover in 21 minutes.

"He's been great," said Harper of his fellow point guard. "Learning quick. College can be a lot different than high school. He's seeing himself where he'll be able to impact every single game. He's great defensively. He can guard any player, and he's just learning the game."

Known for his defensive prowess, Mitchell's coverage resulted in a 10-second violation against George Mason in the second half, part of an 11-0 Auburn run.

"I've been willing to play hard defense," Mitchell said. "In high school, I would always guard the best player. Guarding them full-court, getting that 10-second to turn it over just helped my team."

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

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