Auburn thrashes Veneto Select, moves to 3-0 on Italy tour
MONTEBELLUNA, Italy – Bryce Brown scored a game-high 21 points, including 19 in the second half, to lead Auburn to a 119-54 thrashing of Veneto Select at Pala Mazzalovo, 30 minutes northwest of Treviso, on Sunday. The Tigers are 3-0 on their Italian Tour.
Danjel Purifoy totaled 19 points on only eight shots to go along with nine rebounds, five steals and three assists while making all 10 free throw attempts. Freshman Chuma Okeke recorded his second consecutive double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and two assists.
“It is very difficult because of the competition,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “Early in August, these professional teams don’t have all of their best players back. Some of them are on vacation so we are able to overwhelm some of these opponents, and tonight was another example, but we played hard.”
Samir Doughty added 13 points, including scoring seven of Auburn’s nine points to begin a 13-0 run turning a 6-2 deficit into a 15-6 lead.
Anfernee McLemore double-doubled with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Desean Murray added 12 points, four steals and four boards. Davion Mitchell chipped in 10 points, Horace Spencer nine points and eight rebounds and Cole Blackstock five points.
“Anfernee McLemore and Chuma Okeke again with double-doubles, playing very efficiently,” said Pearl. “We shot the ball better in the second half. I thought we were more patient. Sometimes, you play to the level of competition, but we are learning, and I thought the effort and the energy was very good.”
The Tigers led 27-14 after first period and then 47-24 with 2:47 left in the half after a Malik Dunbar conventional 3-point play. Auburn led 51-32 at the half behind eight points and 11 rebounds by McLemore and 10 points by Purifoy. The Tigers outscored Veneto 24-18 in the second quarter.
Purifoy’s trey put Auburn ahead 65-35 with 7:15 left in the third while a Brown trey doubled up Veneto 70-35 with 6:20 to go in the period. The Tigers made all six 3-point attempts in the third, three by Brown, making it a runaway with a 40-13 edge in the period to lead 91-45.
“I just came out on fire this game,” said Purifoy. “Having a lot of intensity on defense, and my teammates looking for me on my open shots and attacking the rim and putting the ball in the hole.”
Auburn recorded 35 steals and seven blocks.
The Tigers reached the century mark on an Okeke layup for a 100-45 with 7:55 remaining. Auburn outscored Veneto 28-9 in the final period.
“I really think we played well as a team,” said Okeke. “We came out after halftime strong, and I think we are building a better bond on and off the court so that is helping us play better. We are just going to keep getting better.”
The Tigers shot 47.3 percent (44-of-93) from the field, 9-of-30 from 3-point range and 22-of-36 from the foul line.
Auburn, which defeated Stella Azzurra 87-29 in Rome and BC Silute of Lithuania 87-63 outside of Florence, will bus 140 miles to Milan on Monday. The Tigers will close out the tour vs. the Italy All-Stars in Costa Masnaga on Monday at noon CT and will visit Lake Como on Tuesday.