Lucas Hargrove's double-double of 20 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds paced Auburn to a 77-62 victory over Charleston Southern in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday.
Leading 36-33 at the half, Auburn (7-6) put the clamps on defensively as it held Charleston Southern to only 35.5 percent shooting in the second half to pull away from the Buccaneers. The Tigers went on its second 11-2 run of the game midway through the second half to take a commanding 63-49 lead on a Tay Waller 3-pointer with 10:51 left.
"We got some steals there on some of our presses," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "We got some deflections and got some easy ones. I thought we mixed how we pressed a little bit and our quickness gave them some problems.
"We forced them into 22 turnovers in the game. I thought we did a good job against their backcourt where we thought their strength was with Jeremy Sexton and Jamarco Warren. They each had seven turnovers."
Charleston Southern (5-7, 0-2 Big South) shot 57.1 percent from the field in the first half while making half of its 10 attempted 3-pointers to keep the game close despite committing 14 turnovers.
"I thought I did pretty well rebounding," said Hargrove. "I like that I rebounded the ball in double digits. Collectively as a team, we came out strong because Coach Lebo had us doing two-a-days this week.
"We know we aren't going to shoot well every night, but you can always play defense well. You can always go to your principles on defense. We did that pretty well tonight."
Brendon Knox added 11 points for the Tigers while Frankie Sullivan had 10 points and a career-high tying six steals. Waller had 10 points and six rebounds as freshman Ty Armstrong notched seven points in seven minutes.
Auburn shot 42.9 percent (27-of-63) from the field, 20 percent (4-of-20) from 3-point range and 67.9 percent (19-of-28) from the foul line.
Charleston Southern led by as much as 22-17 on a Tom Tankelewicz 3-pointer with 7:53 left in the half, but Auburn used a quick 11-2 run to take a 26-24 lead on a Sullivan steal and dunk just over two minutes later. There were seven lead changes and five ties in the first half, the last at 31-31 with 3:22 left.
The Tigers took the lead for good at 33-31 on Hargrove's layup with 1:39 left.
Charleston Southern was led by Warren's 18 points while Kelvin Martin chipped in 12 points and Tankelewicz 11. The Buccaneers finished the game shooting 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the field, 36.4 percent (8-of-22) from 3-point range, including only 3-of-12 from behind the arc in the second half.
The Tigers outrebounded the Buccaneers 38-32 and outscored them 44-22 in the paint and only had 11 turnovers to Charleston Southern's 22.
Auburn plays host to Georgia Southern on Saturday at 1 pm Central in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Tickets are $5 each.