|2:00 PM PT3:00 PM MT4:00 PM CT5:00 PM ET10:00 PM GMT6:00 PM 北京时间3:00 PM MST5:00 PM EST, Dec 29, 2018
Auburn Arena, Auburn, Alabama Attendance: 8,450
No. 12 Auburn set to face North Florida
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No. 12 Auburn plays its lone game in a 19-day stretch when it hosts North Florida in the Tigers' last nonconference game of the regular season on Saturday.
The Tigers, who next play in the SEC opener at Ole Miss on Jan. 9, struggled as they went into the Christmas break. Auburn (10-2) has won two of its last three games but the wins were struggles against UAB (75-71 win in overtime on Dec. 15) and Murray State (surviving 93-88 on Dec. 22).
N.C. State beat Auburn 78-71 in that stretch, Dec. 19, at Raleigh, N.C.
After the win over Murray State, a good team that is 8-2, Coach Bruce Pearl said, "There will be some adjustments that I think will help us (heading into the North Florida game)."
Adjustments have already taken place. Auburn's starting lineup against Murray State was different for the first time this season with post player Austin Wiley inserted in place of Anfernee McLemore.
"He is one of the best big guys in our league and one of the top big guys in the country, so why would you not start him?" Pearl said of Wiley, who is averaging 11.8 points and 5.6 rebounds a game.
"Wiley is playing better and getting in better shape; we are understanding how to utilize him and so the thought was simply that he had earned it. We had some advantages on the inside that we wanted to get to right away, so that is why we made the change."
North Florida (5-8) has won four Division I games this season, including two against Charleston Southern. Their best win came against Southern Mississippi in Mexico. They have played a tough nonconference schedule, losing to teams like Dayton, Penn State, Florida, Minnesota and Florida State before going to Auburn.
The Ospreys have six juniors who all contribute. They're led by Garrett Sams and JT Escobar, offensively.
Sams has scored only 10 points the last two games, but has scored in double-figures 10 times this season. Escobar, who played at Ole Miss as a freshman, is a 3-point specialist who had 27 points against Florida State in the last game -- going 6-of-6 from behind the arc -- in a 95-81 loss at his hometown of Tallahassee, Fla., on Dec. 19.
"We continue to ride this merry-go-round featuring moments of good play followed by moments that are not as good," said North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll, whose team has not had more than a two-game winning or losing streak this season.
"Until we figure out a way to play a complete and consistent game, thing are going to be challenging especially against teams like Florida State where our margin for error is small already. It was great to see JT be able to play well in front of a good group of family and friends in his hometown."
Updated December 28, 2018