AUBURN - Jordan Price couldn’t contain his adrenaline.
Make three 3-pointers in 61 seconds — 11 straight over three games, no less — and maybe most players would stop to pose and taunt. The trash talk coming from Tennessee Tech’s bench only encouraged it.
On one of the hottest 3-point shooting runs in NCAA history, Price turned and jawed at the opponent’s bench Tuesday night inside Auburn Arena after pushing the Tigers’ lead to double digits — where it stayed for most of Auburn’s 81-62 rout.
Price had just completed an individual 12-2 run in barely 90 seconds, but was called for a technical foul because of taunting. Auburn coach Tony Barbee exercised no patience, immediately pulling the freshman to the bench.
“Bad players do what he did,” Barbee said. “You’re hot, you’re making shots, and now you’re barking at the other team’s coach — that’s what bad players do. Good players know how good they are, and they let their game do the talking. You don’t do stuff like that, but that’s a maturity deal with Jordan Price. That’s exactly what it is. So it was a teaching moment for him.”
Barbee, who said he’s never had a player make 11 straight 3-pointers, wasn’t surprised by his freshman’s shooting outburst.
Price’s streak is almost unprecedented. He’s four 3s away from the NCAA record of 15 straight makes set by Northwestern’s Todd Leslie in 1990. He’s also tied for the SEC record, which Vanderbilt’s Kevin Anglin set in 1992.
Barbee said he sees the same shooting from Price every day in practice. For the youngster, it’s the intangibles that need improvement.
After being admonished on the sideline, Price said he understood he needs to act like he’s been there before — even if he and few others have.
“I just got a little bit too excited,” Price said. “They also were talking a little trash, so I got involved in that. But I know I shouldn’t have, and my coaches talked to me afterward. I’m going to do better.”
It wasn’t a competitive game against Tennessee Tech, an Ohio Valley Conference opponent who fell to 6-5. Auburn (5-5) led 38-21 at halftime, and its lead was never less than double digits in the second half.
But from Price’s 3-point shooting to a dunk junior guard Chris Denson called his “nastiest” ever, there were plenty of highlights.
Denson took a pass near half court late in the first half and raced to the basket as Tennessee Tech guard Matt Marseille trailed just behind. Marseille chopped his steps, trying to time a block.
Instead, Denson put the 6-foot-5 guard on the wrong end of a poster.
“The team, they call me the one-man fast break,” Denson said. “I love fast breaks. I’m good at finishing at the rim. … Coach says I’m a 90 percent one-man fast break. I’m either going to get fouled, or I’m going to make the shot.”
Denson led Auburn with 20 points and added five rebounds, his third straight double-digit scoring output since returning from academic ineligibility. Price had 12 points — all in the first half — and senior guard Josh Wallace had 11 points, seven assists and three steals.
Auburn is now on a three-game winning streak, its longest of the season. Barbee said Denson’s return has had a lot to do with it.
With 11 straight 3-pointers, the same could be said for Price. Still, Barbee said he’s expecting more.
“It’s going to be a process,” Barbee said, talking about Price’s maturity. “He can shoot the ball. It is not a surprise. He has to mature in his game and understand that he made those buckets for us early. He also had four or five 50-50 balls that we are going to see on tape, because the tape doesn’t lie. He had about five in the first half where he had just as much, if not more, of an opportunity to get the ball, and he just stares at them.
“It is going to be a process with him. He is playing at a high level offensively. I just have to get him to do more things on this stat sheet.”