Auburn basketball defeated the Tennessee Technological University Golden Eagles by a score of 81-62 last night in front of a slightly embellished (I’m sure) attendance of 4,323. If you were listening to the game, or following along on Twitter, you probably were aware of Chris Denson’s “posterizing” of one the TTU players late in the first half. If not, watch it below:
Why was Auburn’s football team so good in 2010? Yes, it was mainly because of Cam Newton and Gus Malzahn as a dynamic duo, but it was also because that team had swagger. They knew they were going to win. They knew they were better than the other team. It started from Cam and trickled all the way down.
Denson’s dunk last night reminded me of that a little bit. It showed swagger. It showed that Auburn basketball wasn’t a three ring circus as it has appeared at times. Yes, it was against Tennessee Tech, and yes Auburn is just now 5-5, but Auburn’s record with Denson in the lineup is 3-0 with three wins by margins that you would expect from an SEC team playing a much lesser opponent. They actually look like a real basketball team right now.
In past seasons, Auburn lacked confidence, size, swagger, and anything else a basketball team needs. It bred negativity and it bred bad luck. Had Denson gone for that dunk last year, it was more likely that it clanged off the back of the rim and flew all the way into the opponent’s basket than actually go in Auburn’s basket. A change has come.
Denson was ruled academically ineligible for the fall semester, so he wasn’t able to join until the Grambling State game last week. Auburn scored 65 points — in the 2nd half — and won 92-42. Again, this was against a lesser team, but earlier this season and for the past few seasons, Auburn has struggled against those lesser teams. As I said, they look like a real basketball team right now.
Not only was this just some dunk that was talked about on Twitter, but it was also the #1 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 of the day. When is the last time anyone saw anything positive from Auburn men’s basketball on a national level. 2003?
It doesn’t just stop at Denson’s positive impact, Auburn also has a freshman in Jordan Price that currently holds a tie for the most consecutive 3-pointers made in the SEC at 11. He has done so over a span of three games. The national record is 15, which he could pass in Saturday’s game against Winthrop (a team Auburn played in the NCAA tournament during the glory year of 1998-1999).
Strangely enough, all of this new positivity has come while Frankie Sullivan has contributed very little offensive production the last three games. Adding a playmaker like Denson is obviously going to take some time to get used to for other playmakers like Sullivan, but once that happens, look out. NIT 2nd round here we come.