Auburn Preview

Sophomore Desi Sills on a fast break during the Razorbacks’ Dec. 14 game against Tulsa.

The Arkansas Razorback men’s basketball team (16-5, 4-4 SEC) will face its second ranked opponent of the season when the Auburn Tigers (19-2, 6-2 SEC) visit Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday night.

“We have a big test Tuesday night, playing against a really talented team that’s extremely well-coached and plays really, really hard,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said.

The Razorbacks snapped a streak of three-straight SEC losses Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where they took down the Crimson Tide 82-78 after giving up the first 12 points of the game. Junior guard Mason Jones scored 30 points for the second consecutive game.

Jones’ 30-point performance was his fourth of the season. He has scored 20 or more points nine times during the 2019-20 campaign and currently leads the SEC in points per game with 19.8.

Sophomore guard and three-point scoring threat Isaiah Joe failed to record a single point for the first time this season against Alabama and played a season-low 21 minutes. Joe has been nursing a leg injury since the game at Ole Miss on Jan. 11.

Musselman called Joe “day-to-day” for the next 2-3 weeks.

Meanwhile, Auburn enters Tuesday’s contest having won four games in a row including a 75-66 decision Saturday against No. 13 Kentucky. This week’s Associated Press poll moved the Tigers up six spots in the Top-25 to No. 11. Auburn is ranked No. 10 in the coaches’ poll.

One of Auburn’s strengths, according to Musselman, is the team’s experience. Four of the Tigers’ starting five, guards J’Von McCormick and Samir Doughty, forward Danjel Purifoy and center Austin Wiley, are seniors.

The other starter, freshman forward Isaac Okoro, is listed as ESPN’s No. 14 prospect in the 2020 NBA Draft.

The Razorbacks and Tigers have split their last six meetings dating back to 2015. The Hogs’ last win came at Auburn in 2018 when the Tigers were ranked No. 14.

Auburn’s two losses this season have come on the road in blowout fashion to Alabama and Florida. The last time the Tigers were on the road, they needed two overtimes to defeat Ole Miss in a game that the Rebels led, at one point, by 19.

“It’s our job to create the excitement,” Musselman said. “We have to play well to get a home-court advantage. If you don’t play well, it doesn’t help much.”

Tipoff is at 6 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena, and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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