Samir Doughty didn’t even have to watch it go in. It was Auburn’s night already.
Doughty crossed over a Colgate defender, stepped back for the 3-pointer as his opponent tumbled into the baseline, and sank his shot for the play of the game as the No. 19 Auburn men’s basketball team soared over Colgate 91-62 on Monday night in Auburn Arena.
Doughty’s highlight-reel play got the crowd roaring early, and Auburn never looked back. The play was watched around the college basketball world, shared by SportsCenter as a potential top-10 play on social media. Doughty didn’t look back either: He turned and started to walk back up the court before the shot even hit the net, knowing he had hit it.
And it was that kind of night for Auburn throughout the game. Doughty scored a team-high 20 points. J’Von McCormick scored 14 and dished eight assists. Austin Wiley recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Auburn led 53-21 at halftime. Okoro’s two-handed slam put Auburn up 71-26 with 15:58 left. Okoro flexed his muscles and scored 11, Danjel Purifoy hit from range on the way to his own 11, youngsters showed their skills off the bench, and Auburn played at full speed and in sync.
“Really, really, really special basketball,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said of his team’s high-flying start.
It pushed the Tigers to 5-0 on the season.
“We played fast, we shot it, we spread it, executed, got after them really hard,” Pearl said. “Just didn’t give them a chance. Suffocated them. Didn’t give a good team a chance.”
Doughty’s 20-point performance comes three days after the career-high 33 he scored last Friday in Auburn’s win over Cal State Northridge.
“I kind of knew the shot was going in,” Doughty shrugged, asked about his crossover and stepback shot. “I just wanted to give the crowd something.”
It came in the first three minutes and only put Auburn up 13-2 with 17:13 still left in the first half — but it encapsulated how well Auburn started the game.
“I saw him turn around, and that was the best part of it to me,” freshman Devan Cambridge said, of how Doughty turned back toward the Auburn bench and didn’t even have to watch as the ball splashed the net.
Cambridge added nine points for Auburn.
“Everybody played team ball,” Cambridge said. “I think we came out ready to play, and everybody was making shots. We played good defensively. (Pearl) did a good job coaching everybody, getting us in the right places and stuff.”
Pearl had plenty of nitpicks for his team from the second half, which saw Colgate ultimately outscore Auburn in the second half though the game was always out of reach.
Auburn will next travel to New York early next games, for a pair of games at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. Auburn will play New Mexico next Monday in the Barclays Center and then will play either Wisconsin or Richmond the next day.
Colgate was an NCAA Tournament team last season as winners of the Patriot League. Colgate lost by seven to Tennessee in the first round of the tournament last March. Earlier this season, Colgate lost to Clemson 81-68 and to Syracuse 70-54 on its way to 1-3.
Auburn moved into the top 20 in the Associated Press Top 25 earlier Monday. The Tigers were No. 22 last week before wins over South Alabama and Cal State Northridge bumped the team up.