In the first game of the second Big 12 - SEC Challenge, the boys from Lubbock, Texas grabbed the win. That's now two years in a row in which Auburn has succeeded a loss to the Big 12 in this growing challenge.
In what was the third and final game of this road trip for the Tigers, here are three things we learned tonight:
- Auburn still relies on one player to make a difference. The past few years, these Auburn teams have had one star player (2013 had two) that the rest of the team ultimately relied on. We learned in Las Vegas that KT Harrell is human and struggles from time to time. Tonight, even with 17 points, KT struggled to do what he does best. This team is struggling mightily to find a secondary scoring threat. Everyone steps up and scores in a game like UL-Lafayette, but not so much in these games against Oregon State and Texas Tech. Another scorer or two will make things much easier as the season goes on.
- Cinmeon Bowers has been "distracted" as Bruce Pearl said in the post-game radio interview. And it showed. Tonight was not his best game. Cinmeon finished with 4 points and 8 rebounds. But even more telling is that he only played 21 minutes. With grabbing two early fouls, Bruce decided to save him for the second half. But with his playing time, he didn't do what he had in the past five games. He just didn't seem to be there, like he had in the earlier games. If Cinmeon does get into foul trouble early in upcoming games, and it will happen, he certainly needs to make his minutes more worth while and make more of an impact on the game.
- The college basketball rule-book needs some more defining. I'm not here to blame referees or anything, but this sport as a whole needs more consistency from those controlling the game. It's hard to teach players to play within the rules when they seemingly change each game or so. It's frustrating as fans to watch these discrepancies in fouls and such, but it has to be even that much more difficult for the players and coaches. Auburn has played in a handful of games this season with questionable officiating. And some of the differences in calls has effected the play for Auburn. And it's pretty obvious when someone like Cinmeon Bowers can't step up to defend a shooter in fear of getting another foul, for something that may or may not have already been called in the game.