Dec. 3, 2014
Auburn's Bruce Pearl couldn't find enough offense at Texas Tech
By Charles Goldberg
Defensively, Bruce Pearl said, Auburn played well enough to win. The offensive side of the game came up short.
Devaugntah Williams hit the winning shot with two seconds remaining to give Texas Tech a 46-44 win over Auburn in Lubbock on a Wednesday night in which defenses ruled and offense struggled.
Auburn's offense has been all over the place on the way to a 3-3 start. The Tigers scored 105 in their third game, 35 in their fourth game, 71 in their fifth game and back to 44 in the sixth game. The Tigers will try to bounce back in Game No. 7 when former Auburn coach Cliff Ellis brings his Coastal Carolina team into Auburn Arena for Friday's 8 p.m. game.
Pearl called Ellis his "good friend" during Wednesday's post-game show on the Auburn radio network. But he'll be looking to find more points when Ellis comes calling.
Auburn led 20-10 in the first half Wednesday, then went through a nine-minute stretch without scoring, and went through another stretch when Texas Tech outscored the Tigers 13-0.
Despite all of that, Jordon Granger's 3-pointer put Auburn ahead 40-38 with 3:43 remaining. A basket by Tahj Shamsid-Deen put Auburn ahead again 44-42. Williams' game-winner broke a 44-44 tie.
"We didn't play well," Pearl said. "Defensively, I thought we did a really good job. To hold them to 41 percent shooting, to hang in there on the boards with them, to give them four assists and 17 turnovers, our kids gave a great effort."
But… "I didn't think we would have as much trouble scoring."
KT Harrell led Auburn with 17 points. His wing man, Antoine Mason, missed his fifth straight game with an injured ankle. And Cinmeon Bowers, who had double-doubles in Auburn's first four games, had four points and eight rebounds.
"I've got to figure out a way to get him back by Friday," Pearl said.
Norense Odiase led Texas Tech with 15 points.
Overall, Pearl said, he was "awfully, awfully proud" of the effort.
"I really, really thought we had that one. We sent them to the line 31 times, and they took 34 shots from the field. We fouled them too much."
Pearl had hoped to show Auburn could win on the road at a big-time conference school, this time one from the Big 12.
"I told them it's going to take a while to change perceptions," he said. "We didn't play well enough tonight to change perceptions."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine