LEGENDS CLASSIC GAME 2
NOV. 26 — BARCLAYS CENTER
Bruce Pearl (above) is 100-72 in five seasons at Auburn. The Tigers made a run to the Final Four last season as a No. 5 seed, dropping a controversial heartbreaker to eventual champion Virginia in a national semifinal. Pearl has had issues following NCAA rules over the years, and Auburn expects to receive a Notice of Allegations from the organization for former Pearl assistant Chuck Person’s role in a pay-for-play recruiting scandal that resulted in him pleading guilty in federal court.
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS
Senior guard Samir Doughty is Auburn’s leading returning scorer at 7.3 points per game. Doughty, who started 27 of 40 games, shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range. He scored 20 points in a win over Murray State.
Auburn lost leading scorer Bryce Brown (15.9), leading rebounder Chuma Okeke (6.8) and leader in assists Jared Harper (5.8) from a team that went 30-10 overall and 11-7 in the SEC. Those three players combined for 43.2 points and 294 made 3-pointers on a team that got nearly half of its scoring from beyond the arc. … What Auburn lacks in star power, it makes up for in experienced role players. That group includes Doughty, senior center Austin Wiley (6.9), senior forward Anfernee McLemore (6.7), senior guard J’Von McCormick (4.1) and senior Danjel Purifoy (3.7). … Two key additions for the Tigers: sophomore guard Jamal Johnson, who sat out last season after averaging 6.9 points in 27 starts as a freshman at Memphis in 2017-18; and freshman forward Isaac Okoro, a top-50 recruit.
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Paul Weir is 33-33 in two seasons at New Mexico. He took over the Lobos after going 28-6 and earning a trip to the NCAA tournament in his only season at New Mexico State. Weir was an assistant under Steve Alford at Iowa and, if this coaching thing doesn’t work out, he has plenty of backup options considering he has a PhD in educational leadership and three master’s degrees.
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS
Junior swingman Vance Jackson (above) was second on the team in scoring (13.1), rebounding (7.0) and assists (2.7) last season. Jackson, who began his career at UConn, scored 30 points in a loss to Fresno State.
The Lobos lost their top scorer — Anthony Mathis (14.4) — from a team that went 14-18 overall and 7-11 in the Mountain West Conference. But their next five leading scorers are back. That group includes Jackson and senior forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (10.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg), who made stops at Kansas and Arizona State before landing at New Mexico. Junior swingman Makuach Maluach, junior guard Keith McGee and senior forward Corey Manigault each averaged more than 9 points per game last season. … Junior guard JaQuan Lyle, a transfer from Ohio State, missed last season after rupturing his right Achilles tendon. Lyle averaged 11.4 points for the Buckeyes in 2016-17. … Junior guard Zane Martin, another transfer, averaged 19.8 points at Towson two seasons ago.