Auburn's Kareem Canty heads up court against Coastal Carolina
By Charles Goldberg
Auburn didn't have injured point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen for its first road game of the season, so the Tigers turned to just about everybody else Wednesday night.
Tyler Harris led six Tigers in double figures as Auburn beat Coastal Carolina 81-78 in Conway, S.C., holding off a furious Chanticleer rally in the final minutes.
Auburn led by 18 with 10:20 left. The Tigers led by one with 24.4 seconds remaining.
Harris led Auburn with 21 points and 12 rebounds and TJ Lang, Bryce Brown, Cinmeon Bowers, T.J. Dunans and Kareem Canty hit double-figure scoring, too. Shamsid-Deen gave moral support from the bench as he nursed a sore shoulder.
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said Harris turned in a complete game.
"Tyler Harris was terrific," Pearl said on his post-game radio show. "Tyler has a lot of real strengths in his game — scores inside, scores outside, good passer, can put it on the floor, moves his feet defensively. Tyler is playing tougher this year than he has in the past."
Auburn improved to 4-1. Coastal Carolina, coached by former Auburn coach Cliff, Ellis, fell to 3-4. Ellis and the Chanticleers beat the Tigers 58-54 in his return to Auburn last season.
Not this time, though Coastal made it a game down the stretch. Canty hit two free throws with 11 seconds left for a little breathing room before Coastal missed a last-ditch three-pointer that would have tied the game.
"It was survival because we were discombobulated," Pearl said. "We're going to learn a lot from it."
Pearl said a "lesser-talented team" and one with "less character" may not have won it.
"To win without Tahj and have Kareem Canty have his first just 'OK game' is really pretty good," Pearl said.
Dunans stepped in to play point guard for Shamsid-Deen for part of the game. He finished with 10 points, five assists and only two turnovers.
Auburn's other double-figure scorers were TJ Lang, with 14; Bryce Brown and Cinmeon Bowers, with 12 each; and Canty with 11.
Auburn set the tone early by hitting 8-of-18 three-pointers in the first half and going on an 11-0 run to take a 13-6 lead with 14 minutes left in the first half. The Tigers enjoyed a 12-point lead with 1:43 remaining in the first half, but Coastal closed with four straight free throws and a late basket to cut the Tigers' halftime advantage to 44-37.
Auburn spread the wealth throughout, having five double-figures scorers with 13 minutes left in the game.
Auburn will be off the next 10 days for finals. The Tigers return to the court Dec. 12 against Middle Tennessee State in Nashville.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine