SALT LAKE CITY — Auburn senior guard Bryce Brown showed the college basketball world on the game's biggest stage — the NCAA Tournament — just why he's so dangerous beyond the 3-point arc Saturday night.
Brown, who entered the night fourth nationally in 3-point makes, made his first four 3-point attempts during a decisive first-half stretch to lead the Tigers past Kansas 89-75 in Midwest Regional second-round play Saturday night at Vivint Arena.
"It starts on the defensive side of the ball with us. Typically when we start off hot on the defensive end, we start off hot on the offensive end," he said. "And that's what it's been like all season long. We get out in transition, knock down shots. And I feel like that's just part of who we are and what we do. We continue to do that and we continue to win ball games and go even further."
The first two 3-pointers from Brown broke the game open. With the No. 5 seed Tigers ahead 9-5, Brown hit his first 3-pointer to make it a seven-point Auburn lead four minutes into the game.
Twenty-four seconds later, Brown added another long-range make following a Kansas turnover to give the Tigers (28-9) a 10-point lead at 15-5.
Over the next minute and a half, the teams traded baskets, with Brown draining his third 3-pointer to make it 20-9.
The fourth 3-pointer, nearly a minute later at the 13:09 mark in the first half, put Auburn ahead 23-9.
Fellow Tigers guard Jared Harper, another 3-point gunner, followed Brown's lead. His second 3 of the game capped a 19-6 run that included five 3-pointers and put the Tigers ahead 28-11 eight minutes in.
All totaled, Brown hit those first four 3-pointers in a span of just 2 minutes, 53 seconds. With that, the No. 4 seed Jayhawks (26-10) were all but done in a game Auburn led by as many as 27 points.
"We've got some firepower. We're tough to play, we've got 10 guys that play and they all contribute. In some ways, it wasn't an upset. I really think the better team won tonight," Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl said.Comment on this story
Brown's fifth 3-pointer later in the half gave Auburn its first 20-point lead of the night at 40-20. Brown made 7 of 11 3-pointers and finished with 25 points, while Harper added 18 points, two 3-pointers and a team-high six assists.
Auburn made 13 of 30 3-point attempts even after missing its final eight from long range. The Tigers hit 9 of 17 in the first half en route to the win that advances them to the Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time in program history.
A date with the winner of No. 1 seed North Carolina and 9 seed Washington awaits in Kansas City.
"I think campus is going to be great. ... Going back to school, there's going to a lot of support moving forward," Harper said.