Auburn 84, McNeese St. 62

Rob Chubb scored a career-high 21 points and Auburn started off

Tony Barbee’s second year as head coach with an 84-62 win over

McNeese State on Friday night.

Chubb also grabbed seven rebounds and led four Tigers players in

double figures as Auburn jumped out to an early lead and never

surrendered it.

Varez Ward added 14 for Auburn, Kenny Gabriel scored 13 and

grabbed seven rebounds, and Chris Denson scored 10 as the Tigers

topped 80 points in a regulation game for the first time under

Barbee.

Auburn beat Georgia Southern, 88-84, in overtime last year.

Patrick Richard led the Cowboys with 13 points, and Adrian

Fields added 10 off the bench, as the Tigers harassed McNeese State

into 35.8 percent shooting (19-of-53) and forced 17 turnovers.

The Tigers’ defensive pressure led to easy baskets in

transition, and Auburn shot at a 53.2 percent clip (33-of-62).

Auburn took a 15-point lead into the half, then sprinted out to

an 8-0 run in 2:09 to start the second half, with Chubb hitting in

the post to extend the Tigers’ lead to 54-31.

The Tigers held McNeese State without a field goal for 11:02

sandwiching the halftime break, building a 9-point lead to 29,

before Fields stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer with 12:11 left

in the game.

A Denson free throw 10 seconds earlier gave Auburn a 62-33 lead,

the largest margin they’d enjoy on the game.

McNeese State never got closer than 20 points the rest of the

way.

A Gabriel 3-pointer polished off an 11-0 Auburn run to start the

game, a span of four minutes in which the Tigers’ press flustered

McNeese State into committing four turnovers and missing five

shots.

Gabriel paced the Tigers early hitting his first four shots and

scoring 9 points in the first 10:48, as Auburn jumped out to a

27-14 lead.

McNeese State answered back, ripping off an 11-4 run in the next

3:59, with a Will Brown fall away jumper bringing the Cowboys

within 31-25 with 5:13 to go in the half.

Auburn responded, going into the half on a 9-2 run capped off

with a Chubb tip-in to take a 46-31 lead into the break.

Chubb led the Tigers with 11 points and five rebounds in the

first half, and Varez Ward added 10.

Auburn shot 58.8 percent from the field (20-of-34) in the first

20 minutes, using its defense to force nine turnovers and get easy

shots in transition.

Richard scored 9 in the first half for the Cowboys, who

struggled to a 33.3-percent clip (9-of-27) out of the gate.