By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. -- KT Harrell heated up early and never really cooled off Sunday. He scored outside and inside, hitting six 3-pointers and scoring a career-high 29 points to lead Auburn to a 77-67 victory over Boston College at Auburn Arena.
The Tigers moved to 6-3 with their second straight victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference team. They beat Clemson 66-64 on Thursday night.
Harrell. who transferred from Virginia and sat out last season, hit 10-of-17 from the field and was 3-of-3 at the free throw line. He added three assists and two rebounds. Chris Denson added 15 points on 4-of-14 shooting and freshman point guard Tajh Shamsid-Deen 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Shamsid-Deen hit 2-of-3 from the free throw line. As a team, the Tigers were 10-of-22.
Auburn coach Tony Barbee said Harrell took his offensive game to another level against the Eagles.
"KT was big," Barbee said. "I've been waiting for a breakout. He's played well all year. Self-confidence is an issue sometimes with KT. I've been on him to keep fighting, keep pushing, keep being aggressive. Tonight he was that."
Guard Olivier Hanlan had 28 for Boston College, which lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 4-8 on the season.
Auburn broke away late in the first half to lead 37-24 at the break and scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 44-24. Boston College got as close to eight in the second half but could get no closer. The game was delayed by some 20 minutes when the game clock and shot clock above Auburn's basket malfunctioned and had to be replaced.
After Boston College got within eight at 70-62 with 1:43 left, Auburn put the game away at the free throw line. Shamsid-Deen's two free throws put the Tigers up 77-64 with 40 seconds left.
Boston College, Barbee said, is better than its record.
"They are a tough team and have played an incredibly tough schedule," Barbee said. "We knew they were going to be desperate to get a win before the break. I thought we did a lot of great things."
Harrell said he started the game determined to play the way Barbee has urged him to play.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Harrell said. "I'm confident in myself, but coach challenges me a lot. I think it was more I just answered the challenge."
Barbee said, after blowouts at the hands of Iowa State and Illinois, winning two games was big. But he said the Tigers began their turnaround at practice.
"They were big, but the practices were even better," Barbee said. "The way these guys have been fighting and working all year long, I'm proud of them. The toughness factor, these guys are starting to get what we have to be about."
The Tigers broke for Christmas after Sunday's game. They will return to the court on Dec. 30 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: