Gabriel carries Auburn over Bethune-Cookman
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Kenny Gabriel recorded the first triple-double in Auburn history Monday night, tying his career high of 24 points, tying his career-high of 13 rebounds and blocking a career-high 10 shots in the Tigers’ 67-41 win over Bethune-Cookman.
The senior forward shot 11 of 13 from the field and also recorded four steals and three assists for the Tigers (10-3), who didn’t win their 10th game last season until March 2.
Auburn went 106 years and 2,322 games without a triple-double before Gabriel’s performance Monday.
Chris Denson scored 10 points and Frankie Sullivan added nine points for the Tigers, who used their size advantage to keep the Wildcats (4-11) at arm’s length for most of the night.
Ricky Johnson led Bethune-Cookman, which shot just 23.7 percent (14 of 59) from the field, with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and Garrius Holloman scored nine.
Noel Johnson, who transferred to Auburn from Clemson last year, started his first game for the Tigers, scoring six points and grabbing a career-high eight rebounds.
After going into the break ahead 34-19, the Tigers started the second half with a 9-2 run to go up 43-21 with 17:06 remaining and definitively put away a game the Wildcats hadn’t been in since the early going.
Gabriel ended that spurt with a steal and dunk and scored 14 of Auburn’s first 18 points of the second half.
Auburn got out to an 8-2 lead in the game’s first 3:19, as Bethune-Cookman missed its first seven shots, but the Wildcats closed to within 11-9 at the 13:29 mark.
The Tigers ripped off a 16-4 run over the next 6:14, using their size to dominate the boards, disrupt Bethune-Cookman defensively and run the break, logging three dunks and three layups during the spurt to take a 27-13 lead with 6:35 to go in the half.
Auburn held the Wildcats to 22.6 percent shooting (7 of 31) in the first half while making 55.6 percent (15 of 27) of its shots.
Gabriel bested his previous career high in blocks in the first 20 minutes, swatting eight shots to go along with eight points and five rebounds.
Johnson scored nine for Bethune-Cookman in the first half on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.