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Auburn falls late to Mizzou 63-61: Three Things We Learned

KT Harrell and TJ Lang had a great night, but late game errors sink Auburn against Missouri in Columbia

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports


That's about all you can say if you watched tonight's basketball game between Auburn (12-18, 4-13 SEC) and Missouri (9-21, 3-14 SEC)—two teams essentially at the bottom of the SEC barrel. It was ugly.

Auburn's Cinmeon Bowers came down with a defensive rebound at the :21 mark in the second half, but promptly had the ball popped out of his grasp by Montaque Gill-Caesar, who dished it back to (who else?) Keith Shamburger for the quick jumper for the final points of the game. With about 10 seconds left, Auburn drew up a play for KT Harrell to take the last shot, but heavy Missouri pressure forced Harrell to take a less-than ideal three-point shot. Game over.

For Auburn fans, the end can't come soon enough for a disappointing and frustrating first season in Bruce Pearl's first year at the helm. On Senior Night in Mizzou Arena, both teams did enough to keep up with each other in the scoring, but it was Auburn who shot itself in the foot with Bowers' late turnover that led to Missouri's game-sealing jumper.

Tonight's game was winnable. Period. The Tigers simply couldn't get it done when it counted, which seems to be the unfortunate theme of Auburn's SEC stretch this season. So with that, here's what we learned:

1. It was a boring first half, followed by a second half where it RAINED threes.

The first half was boring. Although, one of the positives for Missouri tonight was that it might've had a bigger home crowd than Alabama will ever have at Coleman, but that's none of my business...

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But for such a boring half, it was one in which Auburn did something rare—it went into halftime and wasn't losing. Tied at 30, both sets of Tigers seemed lethargic by the end of the first half, although that mindset changed drastically in the second half, where late in the game, it seemed that every other shot was a three for both teams. From the 4:06 minute mark through 2:42, there were six consecutive buckets made between both teams, with five being three-pointers.

Unfortunately, Auburn wasn't in a good position to take the final three, which would've been a sweet way to get a win on the road against the worst team in the SEC, if you can believe that.

2. TJ Lang had a night tonight.

With Auburn's bench looking thinner than Kate Moss, we saw plenty of unique lineups on the court tonight. TJ Lang has struggled to get enough playing time this season to make a serious impact, but tonight he came to play. Having only averaged 1.9 PPG before tonight, the freshman played something fierce and hit double digits for the first time this season with 13 points. He went 3/4 behind the arc and found ways to wake Auburn up at times when the game dragged on.

This kid is already good, but he will absolutely get better in Pearl's system. TJ Lang, you are the future, and you had a hell of a game tonight when Auburn needed you.

3. So did KT Harrell, and I'm really going to miss him.

KT (aka K33333 because he made five three-pointers on the night) just couldn't make the final shot, but to be fair, there wasn't much help. Missouri knew he was getting the ball—hell, we all did. Personally, this fan was hoping that TJ Lang would get the final shot, and it made sense that Lang might be left wide open for the final shot since KT was the targeted player. It just wasn't an ideal situation to be in, and it didn't have to end this way if not for a stupid turnover at the other end of the court. Fundamentals, man.

But on a positive note, KT Harrell. What a kid. He's done great things for Auburn all season, and he hit double-digit points again tonight. With a proper supporting cast (or even just a 100% healthy one), it hurts to imagine what might've been for Auburn's record against SEC opponents. He's got one more regular season game left, but I'm already missing him. War Eagle, K3.

It's another bad loss for Auburn, so thank goodness for baseball season (and if you were doing it right tonight, you had the baseball game on the radio while you muted the basketball game).

The Tigers play Georgia at home this Saturday to close out the season. War Eagle, always.