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Tigers returning to friendly confines of Auburn Arena
Jan. 16, 2015

KT Harrell and the Tigers have found their shot in Auburn Arena this season

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Bruce Pearl is trading quick turnaround to Saturday night's basketball game for a chance to play in Auburn Arena.

Seems fair enough.

Auburn plays South Carolina at 7:30 at home where the Tigers are 8-1. Auburn is 1-6 everywhere else, including Gainesville, where it lost to Florida by 20 Thursday night. Forty-eight hours later, they'll be matching up with the Gamecocks.

"You cannot worry about that. That is the way the schedule works," said Pearl, Auburn's basketball coach.

"It is basketball. You just have to play," said guard Antoine Mason. "I know it is not the NBA, but if you have a back-to-back, you just have to be prepared to play and try to win." 
The Tigers are 9-7 overall and 1-2 In the SEC. South Carolina is 10-5 overall and 1-2 in the league.

"Obviously, we play better at home. We have demonstrated that," Pearl said. "We have talked about being post-season eligible. We are only two games above .500. There is no margin for error. Where and when can you get one on the road if you slip up at home? There is more pressure to win when you are at home, but what I have to get our guys to focus on is what does South Carolina do to score? What do we have to do stop them? What do they do defensively? What do we have to do to score? That is all I can control. The more I focus on those things, the better chance we have to be able to win."

Pearl will be looking for favorable matchups, for Auburn is not the biggest team around, and, as he says, 2-point baskets are hard to come by. The Tigers have looked for longer shots and have asked for a high shooting percentage. But the Tigers shot 22 percent in the first half against Florida making the chore of winning difficult. 
Pearl said that, by now, there are no secrets.

It "becomes painfully clear is that the scouting report is out on you. The book is out," Pearl said. "What I am trying to do to get our guys looks, shots and spots, advantage and disadvantage, I am doing because it is the best thing we can possibly do to score."

Pearl said the South Carolina program is "two or three years down the road from where we are right now."

"Can we get them? Sure we can. But we cannot be effected by either the pressure of trying to win at home or those other factors because it bothers some of us more than it should."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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