Kareem Canty is on his way to a 24-point game for Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Bruce Pearl warned one and all that Division II Indianapolis would give his Auburn basketball a real test in Thursday's final exhibition game.
The visiting Greyhounds did not disappoint.
Auburn beat Indianapolis 114-109 in overtime in a game that featured 90 free throw attempts and 55 3-point attempts and, mostly, the Tigers were OK with the tough test on the way to the season-opener against UAB on Nov. 13.
"We feel more confident we actually won that game. We needed that," said Auburn guard Kareem Canty, who led the Tigers with 24 points.
"We needed that challenge."
Canty especially had a good time. "It was fun for me after sitting out last year," he said.
"Kareem," Pearl said, "would be the player of the game."
But the four other Tigers in double-figures also seemed to be having a good time on offense. Tyler Harris scored 20 points in 18 minutes, Horace Spencer and Cinmeon Bowers each scored 17, and T.J. Dunans scored 14. Spencer also had three blocks and a steal.
Pearl experimented with lineup combinations, using 11 players, all of whom got in for at least nine minutes. Most shot well, considering the Tigers hit 58 percent from the floor.
Auburn was certainly challenged by the early 3-point shooting of Eric Davidson, who finished with 31 points that included eight 3-pointers in the first 27 minutes, but none over the last 13. Jordan Lloyd topped that with 33 points. Two others hit double figures. Four Greyhounds fouled out.
The game was tied at 100-100 at the end of regulation, or something far different than Auburn's 99-59 exhibition win over Brevard College the week before.
"We obviously had a ton of breakdowns," Pearl said. But, he added, "It was what we needed to help us get ready."
Indianapolis, the No. 8 team in Division II, hit 14-of-35 free throw attempts, and 33-of-38 free throw attempts, too. Auburn hit 8-of-20 3-point attempts and hit 34-of-a-whopping-52 free throw attempts.
Four shooting worked overtime. Defense took a holiday.
"I was disappointed with our transition defense and disappointed with our pressure defense," Pearl said. "We allowed them too much penetration. With the exception of Horace Spencer, we don't have many rim protectors."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine