Auburn's KT Harrell goes up for the tough shot against Alabama
By Charles Goldberg
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Auburn's best road game of the season came up six seconds short in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday night.
Rodney Cooper's tip-in in the closing moments gave Alabama a 57-55 victory, though Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said the Tigers played its best game of the season away from home.
"I thought we played well. We were in control," Pearl said.
Alabama improved to 13-6 overall and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn fell to 10-9 overall and 2-4 in the league. The Tigers are 1-7 away from Auburn Arena.
"We put ourselves in a position to win tonight," said Auburn guard KT Harrell. "It's probably our best game on the road. We just couldn't quite finish."
The Tigers will try to use their home-court advantage when they return to Auburn Arena against Texas A&M at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Auburn overcame a two-point halftime deficit to take a nine-point lead with 10 minutes left on breakaways by Harrell. But Alabama came back when a loud crowd rallied around the team after Ricky Tarrant was disqualified after committing his second technical foul with eight minutes left.
Auburn scored 11 points in the final 10 minutes, six points in the final 7½. Alabama scored 16 in the final 7½.
The Tigers' last shot at victory was a play designed for Tahj Shamsid-Deen. But a screen was set up too late, and Shamsid-Deen had to take an off-balance shot that missed at the buzzer.
"We didn't get it done. So we're not going to travel back to Auburn real happy about it, but I'm proud the way our kids played," Pearl said.
Harrell, Cinmeon Bowers and Antoine Mason combined for 49 of Auburn's 55 points. Harrell led the way with 22 points.
Harrell tied it for Auburn with just over a minute left, and did it again with 40 seconds left. But Alabama kept coming back.
Alabama led by two at the half, but Auburn came out on the run, with Harrell going coast-to-coast to complete a 10-0 run to put the Tigers up 35-30 with 16 minutes left.
Another run-out by Harrell that covered most of the country put Auburn up 39-35.
Auburn got its biggest lead, at 44-35, with 10 minutes left when Antoine Mason converted an old-fashion 3-point play.
Auburn hit two 3s and led 6-2 early, but the give-and-take first half went to Alabama, barely, with the Tide took a 25-23 halftime lead. The defensive-minded half was highlighted by double technical fouls on Alabama and Auburn, and some spotty shooting. Auburn shot 32 percent. Alabama shot 38 percent.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine