Auburn trailed for the majority of the night, by as many as 11 points, and never looked on it's game, but still managed to fight hard on the way to a 61-60 victory over Texas Southern.
This was a tough game against an opponent who has been tested on the road all season long. In the end Cinmeon Bowers - with his seventh double-double of the season - was the hero. He stole the inbound pass by Texas Southern with just over 4 seconds to go and the Auburn Tigers leading by one. He almost ended up the goat as Auburn's free throw issues popped up again as he missed both free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining on the clock. However, Texas Southern's desperation heave came up short and Auburn came away with the victory.
1) Sloppy play is still very much an issue. I don't know what it is, but this team still makes some very strange and unfocused passes that lead to very bad turnovers. Sometimes it's just sloppy ball handling. Either way, there are way too many unforced turnovers.
2) Scoreless stretches. Again, I don't know what the issue is. Antoine Mason started the night missing every single shot he took. He finally broke the 2000 career point barrier midway through the second half as Auburn was in the midst of a comeback from Texas Southern's 11 point lead, and Auburn started hitting shots. Then when the lead was down to one, Auburn missed three consecutive three point shots. I don't even want to think of what Auburn's three point percentage is for the season, but it has to be ugly. And in large part that's because they take so many of them.
3) Malcolm Canada is becoming a strong force on this team. He has come off the bench in the last two games and played at multiple spots when he's on the court. He's played his heart out and given it his all to help his team in every way they need. His stats weren't that impressive, but his play was.
Bruce Pearl in his post game interview said "we're not a very good basketball team right now," and as you can see from my "three things," I agree. I've done a few of these recaps and it seems like at least two of my three points are always negatives, even when the Tigers win. But the Tigers fight to the last in every game, and sometimes that's all it takes.
Auburn goes into a nice break for Christmas before returning to the court next Monday night. They're back over .500 for the season, and hopefully will be able to learn some things from this stretch of games.
And please, can we get some of our players some practice on the free throw lines?