- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Jared Harper buried a 3-pointer on Auburn’s first shot of the night, and the Tigers never stopped hitting them.

With Danjel Purifoy scoring 27 points, a short-handed Auburn team tied the Southeastern Conference record with 21 3-pointers in a 117-72 victory Thursday night over Coastal Carolina.

The Tigers (7-2) raced to a 56-27 halftime lead and continued that 3-point barrage throughout the second half. They wound up 21 of 42 from beyond the arc and matched the fifth-most points in school history.

“I don’t even know where those shots came from but everybody was making 3s out of nowhere,” said Purifoy, who was 5 of 10 from beyond the arc and has two 27-point games in a row. “Walk-ons coming off the bench and making 3s. It was fun to watch.”

Kentucky also made 21 3s in 1990 and Arkansas matched that in 1997. Nine Auburn players made at least one 3-pointer a day after starters Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer were suspended following their arrest on misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

Walk-on Will Macoy got into the act with eight points and a pair of 3s in just five minutes late in the game.

Purifoy also scored 27 points in Auburn’s 72-71 loss to Boston College on Monday.

Harper was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and scored 16 points with seven assists. Mustapha Heron added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers. Ronnie Johnson added 11 points and T.J. Dunans 10.

“I think from the standpoint of what it’s supposed to look like, what it can look like, that was about as good as it’s gotten since I’ve been here,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “I didn’t see it coming given all the adversity that we’ve had this week.

“But adversity tends to reveal character. And perhaps in some ways our character got revealed tonight.”

Elijah Wilson led Coastal Carolina (5-7) with 22 points and Jaylan Robertson had 12.

Auburn closed the first half on a 31-5 tear.

“Without question, Auburn played lights out,” Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said. “You’ve got to give them all the credit.

“It was 25-22 and then all of a sudden it just went haywire and shots started falling. It just caught on with everybody. I think everybody started feeling the magic.”

Missing two starters didn’t slow the Tigers down. LaRon Smith and TJ Lang took their spots.

“I feel like they felt like they let the team down,” Auburn’s Anfernee McLemore said. “They were more upset that they couldn’t fill their role on the team.”

McLemore played a bigger role with Spencer out and produced nine points and eight rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Coastal Carolina: Fell to 5-14 against teams from Power 5 conferences since the 2010-11 season. Got 15 points in the first half from Wilson, and 12 from the rest of the team.

Auburn: Improved to 5-0 at Auburn Arena this season. Previous school record was 19 3-pointers. Outrebounded a team that came in second nationally in total rebounds, 48-40.

ELLIS’ RETURN: Coastal Carolina’s Ellis led the Auburn program from 1994-2004. He led the Chanticleers to a win in 2014 and took the Tigers down to the wire in an 81-78 loss last season.

UP NEXT

Auburn: Hosts Mercer Sunday before more high-profile games away from home against Oklahoma and UConn.

Coastal Carolina: Hosts Wofford on Monday night for their final home game of 2016.

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