Boy, did that look ugly.
But hey, we won! We actually did it. We didn’t end up being a trendy upset victim in the first round of the tournament, like some other teams did. We faced adversity, and we ended up beating a scrappy and talented Charleston Cougar team that had no fear about going up against a 4-seed.
Auburn 62, Charleston 58. Low-scoring game, yes.
It was tied at 25 at halftime after Auburn allowed a 7-0 run by the Cougars to tie it up just before the intermission, and Auburn didn’t hit a three until the first basket of the second half.
It was a dreadful performance offensively. We made 5-24 threes, and just 15-32 free throws! We got to the line like we always do, but we didn’t hit like we always do. Normally, Auburn shoots 77% from the foul line. If we do that last night, we hit 7-8 more free throws and Charleston’s playing true catch up the entire game.
To make matters worse, the three-point shooting continues to be off. We went without in the first half, which was a first in 137 games for Auburn. Bryce Brown’s three to open the second half was the first long ball of the night, and in the end we needed every one of the rare three-pointers that we hit.
Something will have to change before 6:10 CST tomorrow night, as we drew Clemson. The Tigers will be a tougher out than New Mexico State would’ve been, and of course it wouldn’t be a true athletic season if Auburn didn’t play Clemson.
The good news is that the Tigers (purple) are playing without Donte Grantham, who injured himself earlier in the year, but they’re still good. This is a team that beat Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Florida, and Ohio State, but also lost to some of the worst teams in the ACC down the stretch.
For Auburn, it has to be a game in which we clean up the little mistakes — weird fouls, defensive miscues, standing around and watching while the other team rebounds — it was all frustrating to watch. Couple that with the shooting woes and it was a game that we’d all like to forget. Still, Clemson wasn’t really troubled by the Aggies in their first game, and we’ve got that contender grit after winning a tight one.
If our shooting is as poor as it was last night, then we won’t win, but hopefully the law of averages evens out, and those late threes by Bryce and Jared to clinch it for us will help them see the ball going in a little better, opening the door for much more.
Bruce said it was just two wins to the Sweet 16, and we’re halfway there already. Let’s get one more tomorrow, but for today, enjoy the beginning of the second round!