Auburn has ended a lot of long droughts over the past few seasons.
It won its first SEC regular-season championship since 1999. Made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. Won its first SEC Tournament championship since 1985. Made its first Final Four appearance ever.
On Tuesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Tigers ended another one — for the first time since the 2004 San Juan Shootout, they won an in-season, nonconference tournament thanks to a 79-65 victory over Richmond.
“That’s going to make for a happier Thanksgiving. I think I may have three helpings, not just two,” head coach Bruce Pearl said on the Auburn Sports Network after his team improved to 7-0 on the season. “We beat a good team. We wore them down in the second half.”
Austin Wiley followed up his 14-point, 13-point double-double Monday against New Mexico by scoring a season-high 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. He was named the tournament MVP.
“I am thrilled for Austin Wiley. I was hoping he would get the MVP,” Pearl said. “You certainly could have given it to Samir Doughty, and he would have been absolutely deserving, but I can tell you, Samir wouldn’t have it any other way in the sense that Austin has been plagued by injuries and just, you know, should have finished his career a year or two ago at Auburn and had a chance to play in the NBA. But for injuries and a few other things, he got sidetracked.
“But his attitude, his effort, his energy and everything has been just phenomenal. So just so happy for him.”
Doughty continued his recent scoring tear with a game-high 22 points on 7-for-16 shooting. Danjel Purifoy was also in double figures with 13 points.