ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Isaac Okoro scored 17 points, Danjel Purifoy had 14 and No. 24 Auburn eased past cold-shooting Davidson 76-66 Friday night in the opener of the Veterans Classic.
Returning two starters from a team that reached the Final Four last season, Auburn (2-0) never trailed against the Wildcats (0-1). After letting a 13-point lead dwindle to 37-35 at halftime, the Tigers took control with a 12-1 run at the outset of the second half.
Purifoy contributed six points to the surge and guard Samir Doughty chipped in with two layups. Doughty finished with 11 points after scoring a team-high 20 in the opener against Georgia Southern.
East Carolina faced Navy in the nightcap of the annual one-night tournament at the Naval Academy.
Doughty and Anfernee McLemore are the two starters back from an Auburn squad that won the Southeastern Conference and beat Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.
In this one, McLemore came off the bench to score 12 points.
Despite having all five starters back from a team that went 24-10 last season, Davidson got off to a shaky start in its 31st season under coach Bob McKillop.
The Wildcats went 18 for 55 from the field (32.7%) and got the majority of their points from Luke Frampton (18), Carter Collins (18) and redshirt freshman Mike Jones (14).
Jon Axel Gudmundsson, the reigning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, was held to seven points. Kellan Grady, who averaged 17.3 points last season, scored only six points on 2-for-10 shooting, and Luka Brajkovic was held scoreless after averaging 11.1 ppg in 2018-19.
Davidson went 7 for 26 from the floor in the first half but made 16 of 17 free throws.
The Wildcats started 1 for 7 with four turnovers and fell behind 9-2. It was 23-10 before Jones hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 9-3 spurt that cut the margin to seven.
Davidson: The Wildcats looked like a team playing its first game of the season. Given the lackluster play of the team’s most notable players, McKillop can only hope this was simply an aberration.
Auburn: The Tigers got off to an outstanding start in each half but looked sloppy at times. Still, this victory should impress pollsters who know Davidson finished second in the Atlantic 10.
Auburn takes on South Alabama, which has already declared Tuesday night’s game a sellout. The Tigers beat the Jaguars 101-58 last year.