No. 16 Auburn will look to continue its winning ways on Wednesday when it opposes LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
Jaylin Williams scored 15 of his season-high 21 points in the first half on Saturday, helping Auburn (14-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) post its third straight victory, a 69-63 win over visiting Mississippi State.
“My teammates trusted me. They’re always telling me to shoot the ball,” said Williams, who did just that by sinking 8 of 15 shots from the floor and 5 of 7 attempts from 3-point range.
Williams eclipsed his previous season-high point total of 20, set during Auburn’s 72-64 victory over Georgia State on Dec. 14.
Williams is averaging 10.6 points per game this season, which is third best on the team.
Wendell Green Jr., who boasts team-leading averages in points (13.6), assists (3.8) and steals (1.6), scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half on Saturday.
Green’s late-game heroics are nothing new to Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.
“Obviously, the experience,” Pearl said of the junior. “He’s got a swag and a confidence, and he’s able to make plays. He’s not afraid of the moment. He’s fearless, and he’s a really smart player.”
For his part, Green knows what is expected with the game on the line.
“I’m experienced,” Green said. “Coach trusts me out there. … And my guys expect me, you know, to take care of the ball the end of the game, make my free throws. And it’s just what’s expected.”
Green has averaged 19.7 points, five assists and 3.3 steals over his past three games.
Green scored 15 points and Allen Flanigan added 10 in Auburn’s 70-55 victory over LSU last season.
Auburn’s defense also played a role on Saturday, forcing 16 turnovers and recording 10 steals. In addition, Mississippi State could not get comfortable from 3-point range, going 0-for-18 from beyond the arc.
While Auburn is in the midst of a modest winning streak, LSU (12-5, 1-4) has followed a sterling 12-1 start with four consecutive losses.
The latest setback was a tough one to digest for LSU, which shot just 29.5 percent from the floor (18 of 61) en route to a 106-66 setback at Alabama on Saturday.
“That was as thorough of a butt-kicking as I’ve ever been a part of. Got to give a lot of credit to Alabama,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said on his radio show. “Not many positives to take away, I guess the only thing is in the second half we didn’t lay down and get beat by a hundred.
“You look at it, they started 5 of 17 from (3-point range), we get none of those defensive rebounds. They go nine of their next 10 from (long distance), you combine that with us going 3-for-20 from 2-point range, 15 percent in the first half, and that’s what the game looks like.”
KJ Williams, who boasts team-leading averages in points (18.0) and rebounds (7.2), joined Cam Hayes in scoring 10 points apiece vs. the Crimson Tide.
–Field Level Media