Auburn forward Walker Kessler (13) blocks a shot by Texas A&M guard Marcus Williams (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. Kessler had a triple-double with 12 blocked shots, 12 points and 11 rebounds and No. 1 Auburn bounced back from a loss with a 75-58 victory over Texas A&M. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

No. 2 Auburn continues to dominate in SEC play

No. 2 Auburn is now on a two-game winning streak as they defeated Vanderbilt last night at home 94 – 80.

Auburn is now 24 -2 in the season, and Vanderbilt is 13 – 12.

Auburn First Half Comeback

In the first half of the game, Vanderbilt created a lot of issues for Auburn as they made their shots and played heavy defense. However, Auburn battled through by gaining the upper hand towards the end of the first half. They defeated Vanderbilt’s intense defense by using quickness and team chemistry to out play them. Auburn’s team chemistry resulted in great passes being made that allowed plays to be successfully executed.

The Auburn players that made impactful plays in the game were Jabari Smith, Walker Kessler, and Wendell Green Jr. Smith was the leading scorer of the game. He made 31 points. During the game, he had an impressive play where he stole the ball from Myles Stute as he was making an inbound pass and two seconds later made a three-pointer that continued to put Auburn in the lead. Kessler had a great game as he was the second-leading scorer. He made 22 points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks.

Throughout the entire game, Kessler proved to be a powerful force through the shots he put up, the various amount of dunks he had, usage of his length and quickness to steal the ball to make easy layups. His teammates, such as Green Jr., set him up with successful shots as they continuously passed the ball to him. Kessler was why Auburn ended up leading at the end of the first half. Towards the final seconds of the half, Green Jr. saw that Kessler was in a good position to carry out a play and passed him the ball, resulting in him scoring.

The score of the 1st half was 42 – 38. Wendall Green Jr. made 12 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Throughout the game, Wendall proved to be fearless against his significantly taller defenders. He would break through their defense by using his agility. He also would create opportunities for his teammates to score. In one play, he threw up the alley op to Dylan Caldwell, resulting in the entire stadium bursting out of their seat with excitement.

Vanderbilt Struggles

Vanderbilt’s struggled by not disrupting Auburn’s team chemistry and failing to contest Auburn’s shots. The leading scorer on Vanderbilt was Scotty Pippen Jr., who scored 29 points, five rebounds, and six assists. Throughout the game, Pippen Jr. made his points by taking advantage of his athleticism and quickness, which allowed him to make it past his defenders and make tough shots within the paint. The second-leading scorer was Jordan Wright, who scored 15 points and had six rebounds. Another player who impacted the game through his presence was Quentin Millora-Brown. Throughout the game he continuously hustled by obtaining crucial rebounds and putting tough shots in the paint while being heavily guarded.

What’s Next

Auburn will be going on the road to play against the Gators this Saturday at 2 p.m.
Vanderbilt will be going up against Texas A&M at home this Saturday at 6:00 p.m.

About Cristina Santiago

Cristina Santiago is a senior at the University of Florida studying journalism with a concentration in sports and media.

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