AUBURN, Ala. -- A year ago, KT Harrell could only sit and watch as Murray State raced to a 20-point win over Auburn.
Harrell is averaging 18.3 points per game/Todd Van Emst photo
Saturday night at the Auburn Arena, Harrell recorded his first double-double as a Tiger to lead Auburn to a 75-67 win over Murray State.
Harrell had 17 points and 10 rebounds as Auburn is off to a 3-1 start in its fourth season under head coach Tony Barbee.
“It's just me being aggressive defensively and offensively,” Harrell said. “I'm trying to attack the glass a lot more and I think that can help us win games.”
Senior Chris Denson, who came into the game leading the SEC averaging 21.3 points per game, scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half.
“I just think it's my mindset. I have the mindset that no one can stop me on the court,” Denson said. “I have also matured on the defensive end. I was so lazy on defense my last three years it made no sense. I wasn't putting in the work in the gym like I needed to, but that all changed.
“It's my senior year and I'm mad that it took this long to realize all this, but it has come with maturity and having that mindset that no one can stop me or beat me on defense.”
Auburn used a 12-2 run midway in the second half to stretch its lead to 65-53 with 4:47 left in the game, and then made 8-of-12 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
“I was proud of the way that we sustained the runs that they made, and we were able to bounce back and go create something for ourselves,” Barbee said. “We want to become that tough-minded team that doesn't get rattled through anything.”
Murray State, which fell to 2-3, was led by Cameron Payne and Jeffery Moss with 16 points apiece. Jarvis Williams added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Auburn, which improved to 3-1, will host Tennessee State Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. CT.
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