Today, we get to talk about a player who we have mentioned a few times in this countdown series, but not as the featured player. I’m talking about Antoine Mason, a guy who was one of the first to believe in what Bruce Pearl was trying to do at Auburn as he came to the Plains as a grad transfer from Niagara to play his final season of college basketball. He along with K.C. Ross-Miller from New Mexico State joined the program as grad transfers while Bruce also brought in Cinmeon Bowers from the JUCO ranks. In order to appreciate the present, you have to also appreciate the past and the foundation these guys helped lay for the program.
Mason averaged 14.4 points a game in his season at Auburn and this game was his season best in points. Unfortunately, it came against a buzz-saw of a team as the Tigers were taking on #1 and undefeated Kentucky inside Rupp Arena. And the Cats weren’t overlooking Auburn on that day.
Total Points: 29
Date: February 21, 2015
Opponent: at #1 Kentucky
Final Score: Kentucky 110 Auburn 75
Antoine was 9-16 from the field, 5-6 from 3-point range and 6-7 from the free throw line. Kentucky started the game on a 23-2 run and never looked back. Mason’s layup 3 minutes in the game was the only points for Auburn in the first 8:39 of the game. Like I said in the beginning, Mason’s scoring efforts were one of the very few bright spots in this one for Auburn. Kentucky would lead by as much as 27 points in the 1st half on their way to a 52-26 halftime lead. Mason had 15 of those 26 points as he made a trio of 3-pointers later in the half.
Auburn started the 2nd half on a 6-0 and got the deficit down to 20 in a few occasions but ultimately, the Cats would finally re-assert their will and after keeping up with the Cats for 6-7 minutes in the half, Kentucky went on another run and never led by less than 26 the rest of the way. Kentucky’s biggest lead in this one was 38 as Auburn hit a 3-pointer on their last possession to provide the final margin. Mason was 4-7 in the 2nd half, hitting both of his 3-point attempts and all 4 of his free throws, scoring 14 2nd half points.
Auburn would get another crack at these Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC Tournament Semifinals but the Cats continued rolling through an undefeated season until they were upset in the Final Four by Wisconsin. This Cats team was 2 games from perfection and obviously the best team Auburn would see in the 2014-2015 season.
So today is actually a double countdown day as I missed a day last week and so later today, Ryan Sterritt will have the 2nd part of today’s countdown. While the game he’s gonna talk about isn’t one Auburn fans will want to remember, they will certainly remember what happened the following day in Auburn and I’ll leave it at that.