Making history one win at a time
AUBURN | Last year’s team broke the school record with 30 wins in a season, 56 wins in two consecutive seasons and 74 wins over three seasons. With Auburn’s next victory, the senior class will have most wins in a four-year period.
Yes, things are going well for the Tigers, which were just ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll, the first top five ranking since 2000.
“Well, we’re definitely about making history,” Pearl said. “That’s why I’m certainly proud of it. It doesn’t matter where you’re ranked now, it matters where you’re ranked at the end.”
Auburn has five seniors. Austin Wiley, Anfernee McLemore and Danjel Purifoy have all been at AU for four seasons and are a part of the 87 wins, which ties 2000-01 seniors Scott Pohlman and Reggie Sharp for the most over a four-year stretch. Samir Doughty transferred to Auburn in 2017 while J’Von McCormick signed with the squad out of junior college last season.
To set the school record just halfway through their senior season says a lot about the group and how far Auburn has come under Pearl and his staff.
"I really didn’t even know that, but of course that would be special,” Wiley said. “Just like my guy over there said, just coming in here and having the expectation of making history, it’ll be very special.”
The first opportunity for the seniors to set the record will come Wednesday night as Vanderbilt visits Auburn Arena. The Commodores are 8-5 and coming off an overtime loss to SMU last Saturday. Sophomore Aaron Nesmith is the SEC’s leading scorer averaging 23.4 points per game and shooting an SEC-best .514 from 3-point range.
“You know me, I'm always about the numbers, and I told the team, ‘2-13,' that's our record against Vanderbilt the last 15 times we played them,” Pearl said. “Vanderbilt's 4-1 in Auburn Arena. That's a program that's had a lot of success against our program. Right now, they're really, really good offensively.
“Nesmith, he could be the player of the year in our league; he's a definite pro, and I don't throw those terms out lightly. Just really impressed with him. Great shooter, quick release, makes tough shots, does a lot of other things as well, great size, prototypical NBA scoring guard. So, therefore he's dangerous. They lead the league in 3-point percentage, and they're second in makes. They've got some offensive fire power.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT on SEC Network.