KT Harrell led Auburn in scoring again
By Charles Goldberg
Not even KT Harrell could stop Missouri from beating Auburn 63-61 Tuesday night, though the guard surely tried.
Harrell scored 24 points in a game in which both teams knew we was the designated shooter, but he still had Auburn in a position to win until Missouri scored the final nine points of the game.
"KT was phenomenal. Anybody who watched the game tonight was really treated," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "He tried to pick this basketball team up and put us on his shoulders. He worked so hard tonight; worked so hard without the ball; worked so hard to get open. They tried everything to prevent him from getting open."
Harrell hit eight of his 16 shots, including 5-of-10 attempts from beyond the 3-point line. TJ Lang, subbing for Antoine Mason, had a solid game with 13 points and a team-high five rebounds.
Auburn was without Mason, its second-leading scorer, who missed his second straight game following the death of his father, former NBA standout Anthony Mason. Pearl said he isn't sure if Mason will be back for the regular-season finale against Georgia on Saturday, or if he'll return for next week's SEC Tournament. Pearl said the funeral for Anthony Mason is Friday.
The Tigers are also without another starter, Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who left the season a few weeks back to have surgery on both shoulders.
Harrell and Lang tried to carry the load without them.
"We had been working hard with TJ in practice to get him to be more aggressive. What an exciting thing to see him play really good defense," Pearl said.
But the Tigers couldn't hold the lead down the stretch.
"When you have a 7-point lead with 2:40 to go, you've got to get stops and make them cover you, make them foul you. We didn't go to the foul line but four times in the second half," Pearl said.
"It was a tough locker to walk in to."
Auburn fell to 12-18 overall and 4-13 in the SEC. Missouri improved to 9-21 overall and 3-14 in the league.
Auburn's final regular-season game is also Senior Day. The tipoff against Georgia is 3 p.m. in Auburn Arena.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:Follow @AUGoldMine