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Short-handed Auburn falls at Texas A&M
Feb. 28, 2015

Bruce Pearl
Auburn's KT Harrell blocks the path of Texas A&M's Danuel House
Bruce Pearl
(12-17, 4-12 SEC)
 Feb. 28, 2015
 Auburn Tigers
 Texas A&M
Texas Southern
Texas A&M
(20-8, 11-5 SEC)

By Charles Goldberg

Auburn played with a heavy heart and without one of its key players Saturday night, and the combination proved to be another stumbling block for the short-handed Tigers.

Texas A&M beat Auburn 80-55 in College Station as the Tigers played without Antoine Mason, who was in New York when his father, former NBA standout Anthony Mason, died Saturday morning after suffering a heart attack last month.

Auburn players and coaches wore black ribbons in support of Antoine Mason and in the memory of his father. And Texas A&M and its fans observed a moment of silence before the game for the Mason family.

Mason had been in New York twice before, but had flown back to play for the Tigers. He is Auburn's second-leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points per game. Leading-scorer KT Harrell led Auburn again on Saturday with 18 points. But he was the only Tiger in double figures.

"We definitely didn't have a lot of cards in that deck," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl on his post-game radio show.

"Guys have to step up, and unfortunately, we didn't get a lot of that."

Pearl said he told his team before the game that there were points to be had that were normally reserved for Mason.

"What an opportunity for everybody...there's some more shots, there's some more time. What an opportunity...It obviously didn't happen," he said.

Texas A&M improved to 20-8 overall and 11-5 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn fell to 12-17 overall and 4-12 in the league.

"We played hard, but we're not competing. There's a big difference," Pearl said.

And of 20-game winner A&M, "their talent, their depth, obviously, took over."

Auburn was already down a starter before Mason's leave. Guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen's season ended after the Arkansas game on Feb. 10 when his injured shoulders gave out. He's had surgery on one of them, and he'll have surgery on the other.

Pearl thanked Texas A&M for the respect it showed the Masons.

"What a classy group to have that moment of silence for Anthony, Antoine and the Mason family; to take our uniforms and go ahead and get those pins embroidered. That's first class," he said.

Auburn will play on with two regular-season games remaining, plus the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville. The Tigers are at Missouri on Tuesday before finishing the regular season against Georgia in Auburn Arena at 3 p.m. next Saturday.

"You've got new preparation, you've got new opportunity... We'll regroup and get ready for Missouri," Pearl said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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