AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Chris Denson scored 13 points in his first appearance this season as Auburn defeated Grambling State 92-42 Tuesday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Auburn (3-5) won for only the second time in seven games as Denson provided Frankie Sullivan, the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, some much-needed support.
A junior guard, Denson missed the first seven games because he was academically ineligible. Last season, he averaged 8.7 points per game. Denson had seven by halftime against Grambling State.
"It was a sigh of relief," Denson said. "Not playing for the first (seven) games and seeing my team going through that hard stretch really hurt, just being on the sideline not playing. So today was a sigh of relief. I think I brought a lot of energy and the scoring spark that we needed to get the W today."
Sullivan, who entered the game averaging 19.7 points per game, had 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
"It's big for Frankie, because he's got another guy that he's got confidence in right now," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "Like I told the other guys, they've not only got to earn my trust — some of these new guys — they've got to earn these veteran guys' trust as well. And that's part of it."
Noel Johnson and freshman Jordan Price added 14 points apiece off the bench. Starting center Rob Chubb added 10 points to give Auburn five players in double figures for the first time this season.
Grambling State (0-7), which has lost all of its games on the road, was led by guard Derron Hobbs' 11 points. Leading scorer Terry Rose was held to eight points, half his average.
After a 10-day break between games during final exams, Auburn started sluggish. The game was tied at 3 entering the first media timeout, and Auburn missed its first seven field goals.
Auburn then went on an 18-5 run to grab a 21-8 lead. The game was never within single digits during the final nine minutes of the first half, and Auburn led 27-15 at halftime.
Still, Barbee was less than pleased with his team's offensive efficiency.
"I just told them, I said, 'I'm going to chalk this first half up to that finals, multiple practices, 10-days-off-since-our-last-game rust,'" Barbee said. "So I said to them, 'Now, let's knock the rust off,' because we got good looks in the first half."
Auburn responded, scoring 65 points in the second half, the most since scoring 73 in a half against Troy State on Dec. 9, 1993.
After the break, Auburn shot 67.6 percent (25 of 37) from the field and 64.3 percent (9 of 14) from beyond the 3-point arc.
Auburn got 36 points off turnovers, 22 in the second half, with many of the points coming on fast-break dunks. Auburn also finished with six dunks, five in the second half.
Price said there was nothing complicated with his team's second-half resurgence.
"We just tried to come out, and we had to make shots," Price said. "So, in the second half, we just started making the shots that we were missing in the first half."