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Brown’s scoring spurt leads No. 14 Auburn past Texas A&M

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Auburn guard Bryce Brown said he fired up a couple of long-range shots Wednesday night that likely had his coaches “shaking their heads.”

“But when I make it, they don’t tend to be mad about it,” Brown said with a smile.

He made plenty against Texas A&M and scored all but two of his 22 points in the first half as No. 14 Auburn cruised to an 85-66 victory.

The Tigers (13-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) won on the road for the first time in league play this season. They dominated the Aggies (7-8, 1-3) from the start and never looked back.

Brown scored 18 consecutive points for the Tigers — and outscored the Aggies 18-10 by himself during that span — late in the first half to stake Auburn to a double-digit lead it didn’t relinquish.

Brown began the stretch with a three-point play after he was fouled in the lane on a layup, and his next 15 points came on 3-point shots.

“I thought he didn’t really take that many bad looks. He worked to get open,” Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said.

Jared Harper had 17 points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds for Auburn. Anfernee McLemore added 13 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Chuma Okeke had 10 points and seven rebounds. Austin Wiley grabbed a career-high 12 boards.

“Everything they do well, we don’t do well, so it was a tough matchup for us,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.

Auburn overwhelmed Texas A&M in second-chance points (20-8), points off turnovers (18-10), offensive rebounds (20-7) and bench points (27-5).

“This win will work wonders for us,” Brown said. “It will help us at home, too, because we know if we can get the job done away from our place, we can definitely get it done at our place. We just want to keep getting as many road wins as we can because that will be the separator between us and other teams in the SEC.”

Savion Flagg and Wendell Mitchell each had 22 points to lead the Aggies.

“We got sped up at the beginning, and we allowed them to control the tempo,” Mitchell said.

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: The Tigers improved to 4-3 away from Auburn Arena. Before the game, Pearl said they needed to play better on the road if they intend to “have the kind of year we want to have.” The lopsided victory Wednesday should go a long way toward building confidence away from home, especially with the Aggies coming off a last-second victory at Alabama on Saturday.

Texas A&M: Any notion the Aggies were back on the right track following TJ Starks’ buzzer-beater at Alabama was quickly swept aside in what is expected to be a rebuilding year under Kennedy.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

While the one-sided road victory was nice for the Tigers, they have a much better chance of rising in the rankings with a strong showing Saturday against Kentucky.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

McLemore timed his jump perfectly and put his hand on top of the ball as Flagg tried a short jumper in the paint early in the second half. McLemore’s extended block drew “aaahs” from the Aggies crowd with Auburn leading 57-42 at the time.

STAT OF THE NIGHT

The Aggies entered averaging 3.4 more rebounds per game than their opponents, but Auburn claimed a 50-33 advantage on the boards.

HE SAID IT

“We thought at times we were the Harlem Globetrotters, trying to dribble instead of making hard cuts and guys getting open and passing the ball. I thought we got sloppy.” — Kennedy on his team’s play.

UP NEXT

Auburn returns home to face No. 12 Kentucky on Saturday.

Texas A&M stays at home to play Missouri on Saturday.

Matt Haarms decides to leave Purdue, enter transfer portal

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue center Matt Haarms has entered the transfer portal and intends to play his final college season at another school, coach Matt Painter announced Monday.

The slim, 7-foot-3 Haarms was one of the Big Ten’s top defenders and played a key role during the Boilermakers’ 2019 NCAA Tournament run, when he replaced injured center Isaac Haas in the starting lineup.

But Haarms lost the starting job following a hip injury in December and wound up averaging 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2 blocks per game while shooting 52.4% from the field.

He finished fourth on Purdue’s career list for blocks with 210.

Louisville’s Nwora enters NBA draft after All-America season

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville forward Jordan Nwora has announced on social media that he will enter the NBA draft.

Nwora was selected to The Associated Press All-America third team as a junior. His decision to turn pro was expected after limited participation in last year’s NBA combine because of a knee injury. He returned to the Cardinals and was named Atlantic Coast Conference preseason player of the year before going on to average 18 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the field. The 6-foot-7 Nwora was named to the AP’s All-ACC first team.

The Buffalo, New York, native said on his verified Twitter account that the abrupt end to the season was “heartbreaking and awful” because he believed No. 14 Louisville (24-7) was ready to win the NCAA championship. But he noted that community health and safety should be the priority because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nwora called Cardinal teammates and coaches his family in his post and added, “I will proudly represent Louisville wherever I go.”

Florida guard Scottie Lewis returning for sophomore season

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida guard Scottie Lewis, one of the Southeastern Conference’s top defenders, is returning for his sophomore season.

Lewis made the announcement Monday via social media by saying “we have some unfinished business.”

“My dream of playing in the NBA is still a top priority, but my heart is in Gainesville!” he added. “I am excited for the journey that lies ahead. My story hasn’t even started, and trust me the best is yet to come!”

A McDonald’s All-American in high school, the 6-foot-5 Lewis had been considered a one-and-done prospect when he arrived in Gainesville last summer. But his defensive prowess overshadowed his offensive skills for much of his first collegiate season.

The New Jersey native averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds to go along with a team-leading 36 blocks. He was second on the team with 36 steals.

He was at his best in SEC play, averaging 9.2 points and shooting 43.6% from 3-point range. He scored a career-high 19 points in the team’s regular-season finale against Kentucky. The postseason was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gators (19-12, 11-7 SEC) now await word on a pair of sophomores: point guard Andrew Nembhard and versatile forward Keyontae Johnson.

Nembhard entered the NBA draft last year before withdrawing his name and returning for a second season. Johnson led Florida in scoring this season, averaging 14 points, and was second on the team with 7.1 rebounds. He also led the team with 38 steals.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey declares for the NBA draft

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Kentucky freshman Tyrese Maxey announced on Monday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft and forgoing his final three seasons in college.

Maxey is projected as a lottery pick after averaging 14 points, 4.3 boards and 3.2 assists for the Wildcats this past season. He burst onto the college basketball scene on the first night of the season when he went for 26 points in a win over No. 1 Michigan State during the Champions Classic, and while he was not quite capable of keeping up that pace throughout the season, he did enough to prove himself as a quality pro prospect.

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Taking a risk on Tyrese Maxey high in the 2020 NBA Draft means betting on the fact that his 29 percent three-point shooting as a freshman had more to do with adjusting to the college level than it does his actual shooting ability. Coming through high school, Maxey had the reputation for being a big-time scorer because of his ability to make deep jumpers off the bounce and because of the way that he can finish around the rim with a variety of floaters and layups.

And while he would show flashes of being the dominant scorer Kentucky needed him to be, the Wildcats late-season surge was a direct result of Immanuel Quickley’s improvement, not Maxey finding consistency. We spent the entire season saying “just wait until Maxey finds his stroke” and he never really did. He needs to be able to make that shot because the rest of his game is somewhat limited. He’s not a natural creator, he’s wired to score more than anything else, and he certainly isn’t an elite athlete by NBA combo-guard standards, although he is a pretty good on-ball defender. He’s also a worker, and by all accounts a great kid and competitor. I think there’s a real chance his ceiling is as a second-unit scorer, but if it all comes together I can see him putting together a career on par with Lou Williams.

Mike Tirico to host NBC Sports’ new daily sports talk show ‘Lunch Talk Live’

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A new daily sports talk shot called Lunch Talk Live will debut on NBCSN at noon ET on Monday, April 6th.

The show will feature Mike Tirico joined like by special guests every single day, including a lineup of NBC Sports’ on-air personalities, current and former athletes and prominent people in sports media.

The show will focus on how the sports world is navigating the coronavirus pandemic, providing a platform for intelligent discussion on the state of sports and how we, as a society, are adapting to living in this challenging time. the goal is to detail personal stories of how different people from across the sports industry are functioning in the day-to-day.

“In these challenging times, we are all missing sports and the people who make sports memories,” said Tirico. “Hopefully, we can bring a midday connection with some of them to help fill the void.”

“We’re excited to bring viewers fresh programming every day with unique, topical conversations from prominent individuals in all corners of sports,” said Sam Flood, the Executive Producer & President of Production for NBC Sports. “This will be a daily lunch date to share sports and stories we miss during these unique times.”

The show will be an hour long. It will air on weekdays at Noon ET on NBCSN and will be streaming on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Additionally, content will also be provided on the NBC Sports’ YouTube channel as well as other social media platforms.

All episodes of the show will be hosted remotely.

Here is the schedule for the week:

Monday 4/6

12:00p- Justin Leonard // Peter King
12:15p- Cris Collinsworth & Dale Earnhardt Jr
12:30p- Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski
12:40p- Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
12:50p- Jeff Burton & Steve Letarte

Tuesday 4/7

12:15p- Rebecca Lowe & Kathryn Tappen
12:30p- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
12:40p- NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin

Wednesday 4/8

12:15p- Al Michaels & Doc Emrick
12:30p- PGA Golfer Justin Thomas
12:50p- Kyle Petty & Dale Jarrett

Thursday 4/9

12:50p- Keith Jones & Eddie Olczyk

Friday 4/10

12:15p- Michele Tafoya & tbd
12:40p- Dan Hicks & Paul Azinger
12:50p- Robbie Mustoe & Robbie Earle