Mustapha Heron had his first career double-double — 24 points and 10 rebounds — Danjel Purifoy scored 16 points, and Auburn beat Eastern Kentucky 85-64 Thursday night in a Cancun Challenge game.
The Colonels (1-2) closed to within 38-39 early in the second half on Jaylen Babb-Harrison’s layup. Auburn pulled away on a 15-2 run and led 65-50 after a free throw by Heron and Eastern Kentucky got no closer.
The Tigers led 10-2 but went cold while Eastern Kentucky rallied and stayed ahead until two and a half minutes left in the first half. Purifoy hit a 3-pointer amid a 9-2 run and Auburn led 37-34 at halftime.
Auburn outrebounded the Colonels 51-30, but made 25 of 41 free throws (61 percent), which helped Eastern Kentucky stay close for most of the game.
Nick Mayo led the Colonels with 22 points and five rebounds and Dillon Avare added 14 points.
Auburn: The Tigers finish their opening homestand 3-0 and head to Cancun, Mexico, on a roll.
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels drop the first of two games against Power 5 opponents and fall below .500 on the season.
Auburn travels to Cancun to play Texas Tech on Tuesday for the Tigers’ first away game, and they'll look to keep Bruce Pearl’s best start at Auburn going.
Eastern Kentucky also plays the Red Raiders in Cancun, but the Colonels take on Texas Tech on Saturday.