Auburn's Antoine Mason makes his way to the basket for some of his 24 points
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Antoine Mason and KT Harrell combined for 45 points, but at the end of this day, Auburn was talking about the points that got away.
Alabama beat the Tigers 79-68 Tuesday night in Auburn Arena despite the big nights from the shooting guards.
"It's not about the offense, it's our defense. We didn't stop anybody in the second half," Mason said. "It was more of us not getting the stops and sticking to what we did best."
Mason had a game-high 24 points. Harrell had 21. But the rest of the starting lineup had just 14 points, all from Cinmeon Bowers.
"Antoine Mason had a strong game. And KT did what he did. But beyond that, we really struggled," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.
Auburn, trying to follow up its quality win at Georgia last weekend, fell to 12-14 overall and 4-9 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama improved to 16-10 overall and 6-7 in the league.
"There are a lot of great teams in this league. We're not scaring anybody," Pearl said. "When we didn't dictate tempo and we weren't sharp offensively, they were obviously confident."
Alabama led by six points after 13½ minutes, but Mason had other ideas about the Tigers trailing. He scored 16 in the first half to help the Tigers to a 36-33 halftime advantage. Alabama flipped that, shooting 59.3 percent in the second half, outscoring Auburn 46-32 and finishing the game with a 40-26 rebounding advantage.
"That's about as bad as we've played this year," Pearl said. "They had something to do with it.
"We looked slow and poorly prepared. That's my responsibility."
Auburn has a tough assignment Saturday, playing No. 1 and undefeated Kentucky in Lexington at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
"I feel bad for the great support we have," Pearl said. "It's a disappointing loss, but we'll get ready for the next game."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine