Nov. 17, 2015
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Kareem Canty couldn't miss early and Tyler Harris recorded the first double-double of his career, but not even their play could stop Colorado from erasing a 15-point deficit to beat Auburn 91-84 Tuesday afternoon in Auburn Arena.
Canty hit his first seven shots, including five 3-pointers, and Harris was on his way with a solid effort as Auburn ran away from the Buffaloes early. But Colorado shot its way back into the game late in the first half and pulled away down the stretch.
Harris had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
"You could see how a terrific player he is. He was the best player on the floor at times," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "That could have been one of the better games in his career."
Canty scored 19 in the first half and finished with 24. Harris called Canty "the play-making scorer that he is."
"We just kept finding him and he kept knocking down shots."
Auburn fell to 1-1 and will play host to Georgia Southern at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Colorado improved to 1-1.
"We're terrifically disappointed with the lost opportunity," Pearl said.
Still, it was a better Auburn performance against Colorado than in last season's 90-59 loss in Boulder.
"When you lose by 30 a year ago, and you lose by seven, you can see the progress our program is making," Pearl said.
Auburn, coming off a win over UAB, welcomed two additional players to the lineup in Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who missed the opener with a hurt shoulder; and Bryce Brown, who had to sit out because he played in an extra summer league game.
Everybody fit in early, and especially everything looked good when Auburn led 44-29. That's when Colorado came racing back.
"If you look at the lineup, it was pretty makeshift," Pearl said. "We were trying to keep Tyler at two fouls. Cim at two fouls, Horace had two fouls. None of those guys were out there. There would be similarity of not holding on to that lead."
T.J. Dunans was Auburn's third double-figure scorer, with 14. Cinmeon Bowers had five. And Horace Spencer, who had the game-saving block against UAB, finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Shamsid-Deen and Brown each scored two.
"Now," Pearl said, "the rotations are a little murky. I'll make some decisions and probably shorten the rotation by one."
It may not be because of scoring.
"When you give up 91 points, you cannot be pleased with the defensive effort," Pearl said. "I give Colorado credit. They're a really good offensive team. They've got really good personnel. But when you score 84, you should be able to win."
The first half was a game of runs.
Auburn outscored Colorado by 12 in one run. Colorado returned the favor with a 10-0 run. A Canty dunk pushed Auburn's lead to 15 with 3:48 left in the half. But Colorado would close the half by outscoring Auburn 13-2 down the stretch to cut the Tigers' halftime advantage to 46-42.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine