AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Bryce Brown didn’t want to take all the credit for his flurry of 3-pointers to end the first half.
Brown scored a career-high 34 points and made six 3s to lead No. 8 Auburn to an 82-72 victory over Dayton on Saturday night.
He got into a groove late in the first half, making four straight 3s over the final 2:29 to give the Tigers a 51-32 lead. Brown even listed those who fed him the ball on the first three shots, Chuma Okeke, Samir Doughty and Jared Harper.
“Three of those 3s are just off my teammates,” Brown said. “The last one in the half was just me making the play.”
He and Harper, especially, made plenty of them.
The Flyers (5-4) made some runs at Auburn (8-1) in the second half when the Tigers shooters cooled off, but they couldn’t catch up.
Harper had 20 points and seven assists for Auburn. Doughty filled the stat sheet with eight points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl would still rather have more scoring help for Harper and Brown.
“I don’t think we executed really well,” Pearl said. “Bryce is a great shot maker. We obviously leaned on him pretty heavily because we did not have enough balance. And he delivered.”
Brown capped that hot streak before the half with a 3 from the top of the key with four seconds left, giving him 22 points heading to the locker room.
Ryan Mikesell led Dayton with 15 points. Josh Cunningham scored 14 and Jalen Crutcher added 11. Dayton made 11 of 23 3-pointers but committed 23 turnovers.
“Our guys never wavered after the half,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “We came out in the second half and competed and gave ourselves a chance. And at the end of the day, we lost to a very good team.”
Down big at halftime, Dayton scored 10 straight points to close to 76-68 after Cunningham’s dunk with 4:26 left. Brown answered with a jumper from the free-throw line.
The Tigers’ top scorers, Harper and Brown both had struggled in the last game against UNC Asheville.
Brown rebounded strongly from his worst game of the season, when he was 3-of-9 shooting for seven points. Harper scored nine in that game.
Brown said he focused on working harder without the ball and taking smarter shots.
“That was a tough game for me overall,” Brown said. “We got the win, but lately I just haven’t been proud of my 3-point percentage, so I’ve just been trying to take smarter shots.”
Dayton: Has lost four of its last five games but that includes seven-point defeats by No. 4 Virginia and No. 22 Mississippi State and now another competitive game against a top-10 team.
Auburn: Made 12 3-pointers but attempted 33. Forced turnovers on five of Dayton’s first six possessions.
Dayton’s Grant returned to a familiar arena. He was head coach at Alabama, Auburn’s top rival, from 2009-15.
Danjel Purifoy’s season-plus long suspension by the NCAA for rules violations is over. The forward makes his season debut in the next game. He posted that he’s “officially back” shortly after this one ended.
“I feel like he helps the team all the way around,” Brown said.
Dayton plays Tulsa on Dec. 16 in the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase.
Auburn plays UAB next Saturday night in the Mike Slive Invitational in Birmingham.
By JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer