Bruce Pearl hopes Auburn can play on in SEC Tournament
March 11, 2015

AntoineMason
Auburn happy to have Antoine Mason back for the SEC Tournament

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Auburn coach Bruce Pearl hopes he can put off his season review for at least another few days.

"We have time for that," he says.

Pearl and Auburn hope that review won't be Wednesday night, for the Tigers play Mississippi State at 6 p.m. in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Bridgestone Arena, and the loser goes home.

When the time comes, Pearl said this week, "we will point to a lot of positive things, and there are also a lot of negative things to point to. We have time to focus on that when it is over."

Mississippi State beat Auburn 78-71 on Jan. 21 despite the fact the Tigers cut an 18-point deficit to two points in the late going. Auburn comes into the tournament with a 12-19 overall record after a 4-14 run in the SEC. The Tigers are buoyed by the return of Antoine Mason, who hasreturned after missing two games following the death of his father. Mississippi State is 13-18 overall and finished 6-12 in the league. The winner of tonight's game will play Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Auburn hopes to rebound and be there.

"The quality and the depth of the league have a lot to do with the fact that we have put together a bad run here at the end, and that we have been shorthanded," Pearl said. "A win in the tournament at any point in our young history would be important. It would be something that we could put in the left column as an accomplishment.

"The reflection on the season or how important a win would be for our program is stuff that I can't control right now. I have to focus on what game plan will give us a chance."

Mason's return should help take some of the pressure off KT Harrell, who leads the SEC in scoring. Mason is Auburn's second-leading scorer. The Tigers have gotten consistent scoring from many others down the stretch.

"We said from very early on, we play best when everyone contributes," Pearl said. "There was a run there when we were winning games and we had four guys in double figures. There is a mathematical probability that could predict our winning. We have not had four guys in double figures for a while and we have not won in a while."

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

 

 

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