AUBURN — Auburn’s Allen Flanigan checked in Saturday and looked up to find himself opposite a likely future NBA star.
He stared down the challenge. And in it, he saw opportunity.
Flanigan scored a career-high 12 points off the bench in Auburn’s 82-60 win over rival Georgia, matching up at times against Georgia’s star and seemingly sure-fire lottery pick Anthony Edwards.
Flanigan wasn’t alone in the effort. Auburn’s own star pro prospect Isaac Okoro matched up with Edwards for much of the game. But Flanigan was called upon to play critical minutes in the game, and in his moments, he shined.
“It meant a lot for me to be able to go out there and guard him like I did and have that matchup, because it showed what I’m able to do, too,” Flanigan said after the win.
Yes, thrust into a tough matchup, Flanigan saw that challenge as simply an opportunity to rise to the occasion, and maybe impress the NBA scouts in attendance to watch Edwards and Okoro.
He topped his previous collegiate-high of eight points against Furman earlier this season, and earned applause from head coach Bruce Pearl for his commendable play on defense against Edwards.
“Isaac impacts winning so much because he can do it on the offensive end, and he’s willing to do it on the defensive end. He likes it. I thought Allen Flanigan stepped up physically, also,” Pearl said, when asked about his team’s defense against Edwards. “We had two really good freshmen that know who Anthony Edwards is.”
Edwards ultimately led Georgia with 18 points, but was visibly frustrated at times during the game as Auburn pulled ahead.
Flanigan finished with 5-of-6 shooting from the field, sinking two 3-pointers along the way. All 12 of his points came in the run of play. He added six rebounds.
He helped Auburn tally its second-best bench scoring output this season.
“It feels great, you know, for me to come off the bench and be very productive for the guys,” Flanigan said. “And the guys, they kept on egging me on, giving me confidence.”
Auburn’s sixth man Anfernee McLemore scored another 12 points in that win, and Jamal Johnson added six points with two 3-pointers.
“When they start playing like that, that bench starts playing like that, we’ve got a chance to be a very good ballclub,” Pearl said.
Flanigan is the son of Auburn assistant coach Wes Flanigan. He signed with Auburn last year out of the state of Arkansas.
Auburn is 15-0 and 3-0 in SEC play. Auburn puts its undefeated record on the line Wednesday at rival Alabama.