Kareem Canty and Auburn find the going tough at MissouriBy Charles GoldbergAuburnTigers.com
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tyler Harris got knocked down, got back up, showed some moxie and turned in yet another steady game. That was one of the highlights for Auburn on Saturday night in an otherwise difficult Southeastern Conference road game.
Missouri beat Auburn 76-61 in Mizzou Arena in a game that slipped away from the Tigers early. Auburn's problems were compounded by foul trouble and a bench shortened by injuries.
Harris stuck with it to lead Auburn with 21 points, though he played the latter stages of the game with four fouls. The Tigers' season-leader, Kareem Canty, played the final 13 minutes with four fouls.
It didn't help, either, that Missouri's bench outscored Auburn reserves by a big margin.
"We've got to have other guys step up. We got beat 40-5 off the bench. Forty to five," Pearl said.
Auburn and Missouri came in with similar records, leaving Pearl saying he was "disappointed" his Tigers missed the opportunity.
"We didn't play very well. The execution wasn't there," he said.
"We hung in there early, but foul trouble was a factor. When you get into foul trouble, you don't defend quite the same."
Auburn dug itself a hole early, trailed 39-24 at the half, and started slowly when action resumed. But the Tigers went on a 16-8 run to cut Missouri's lead to 12 points with 13:25 remaining.
Missouri pressed ahead and used its depth to build a 26-point lead with 4:36 remaining. Missouri had 10 players play at least 10 minutes each. And Missouri had four double-digit scorers. Auburn couldn't match those numbers.
The good news for Auburn was the return of guard New Williams from a knee injury. He brought some energy to the Tigers in the second half, though his minutes were limited.
"We played New Williams a little bit tonight just to see," Pearl said. "He's got a new brace and had a good week. Right before the game, the trainer told me he would be available."
Williams added some spark, but Pearl said "our best players have to play way better for us to be competitive.
"With Kareem 2-for-9 and Cinmeon Bowers 2-9, you're not going to win."
The injuries to guards Tahj Shamsid-Deen and T.J. Dunans continue to hurt.
"We lack playmakers," Pearl said. "Making easy offense isn't easy."
Auburn fell to 7-7 overall and 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri improved to 8-7 overall and 1-1 in the league. And 8-1 at home.
It was a tough go for Auburn in the first half. The Tigers and Missouri shared one double technical, then Auburn was issued a bench warning, then Pearl got a technical for asking about who knocked the ball out of bounds on the same play.
"I was very surprised I got the technical foul," he said.
Canty had to come out late in the first half with three points and three fouls, and Harris went down with an injury and had to be helped off the court moments later. Harris came back for the start of the second half.
The Tigers were didn't fare much better when there was more substantial action. Missouri led 39-24 at the half.
Auburn will try to rebound at Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter