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Playmaker: Kareem Canty shows Auburn his all-around game
Jan. 29, 2016

Auburn's Kareem Canty shows he can do more than score against Ole Miss
Auburn's Kareem Canty shows he can do more than score against Ole Miss

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. ― Fans ooh-and-ahh over Kareem Canty's ability to shoot the 3 from way out.

No, make that waaaay out.

But the Auburn guard and the SEC's fourth-leading scorer is more than a guy who can hit 3s. Canty again showed that Wednesday at Ole Miss when he almost turned a triple-double with nine assists, eight rebounds and eight points, and selflessly drew defenders to him so others could knock 3-point shots.

He'll be one of the focal points again Saturday when the Tigers meet Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Saturday in Auburn Arena as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge on ESPN2. Auburn is 9-10 overall as it steps out of Southeastern Conference play. Oklahoma State is 10-10.

Canty is first in the SEC and 12th in the nation in 3-pointers made, averaging 3.47 per game. He's also third in the SEC in assists, at 5.5 per game; third in minutes played, averaging 34.4 per game; and fourth in scoring, at 18.4 points per game.

"One thing I was really impressed with Kareem was when he hadn't scored a point yet at halftime of the Ole Miss game, but he had six rebounds and six assists, and we had a 1-point lead," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "He was great in the locker room. He was really good. I think that in the second half, the fact that he hadn’t scored was on his mind a little bit. When opponents are going to take you away, then you have to get the other guys shots. And if they are taking you away and double-teaming you, you just have to continue to be that playmaker.

"I like the fact that what bothered him wasn't the fact that he didn't score, but was that we lost, and we didn't play well in the second half. If teams take him away, then he needs to continue to get guys shots, make plays, rebound, defend, and help us win knowing that he is always a very dangerous threat to score."

Canty, now cast as the primary point guard because of the season-ending injury to Tahj Shamsid-Deen, directed the game as Ole Miss shadowed his every move. He set up TJ Lang for five 3-pointers and a career-high 19 points.

"I just moved and he hit me and I had the easy job," Lang said.

Auburn will be looking to rekindle its success in Auburn Arena on Saturday. After beating Kentucky and Alabama at home, the Tigers went on the road and lost to Florida by 32 and to Ole Miss by 17.

Auburn can make headlines again this Big 12/SEC event.

"I think it is a great thing to take a pause from conference play and to step outside of conference," Pearl said. "There are just some really good matchups across the league that I think are really important.

"It will be a great challenge for us. There's a great responsibility with being selected as one of the 10 teams to represent the league to compete and represent."

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


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