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Antoine Mason finds big game, and a lot more, at Auburn
March 15, 2015

Antoine Mason comes up big for Auburn in his final college game

By Charles Goldberg

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Antoine Mason finished his Auburn basketball career in a big way, scoring 23 points against Kentucky on Saturday, raising his two-game total against the powerful Wildcats to 52 this season.

It was the proper way to leave for the player who transferred in to Auburn for his final year of eligibility, but found more than a basketball court.

He found friends and teammates who have helped him deal with the Feb. 28 death of his father, former NBA standout Anthony Mason. Antoine Mason flew to New York to be with his father twice after he suffered a heart attack, and again before he died.

Mason missed Auburn's last two regular-season games, but returned for the SEC Tournament and Auburn's three-game run before losing to Kentucky 91-67. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said Mason's return was "therapeutic."

"It put me in a better place than I was," Mason said.

"He missed his Auburn family and Auburn friends," Pearl said.

Auburn's second-leading scorer found them on his return.

"When I was at home, it felt like I was living in a nightmare," he said. "It didn't click that my father passed, but being back with the team got my mind settled. People joking around, playing around kind of takes your mind off of things. I appreciate my teammates for everything. What I was going through at home was very difficult. Just being here with basketball takes a lot off of my mind. Being on that court again meant a lot."

Now, with the season over, Mason said, "I'm going to miss this team."

Before the SEC Tournament, before Auburn's run, teammate KT Harrell said he was happy Mason wanted to return to his teammates.

"It is good to see him around like we are used to. We are going to go out there and play hard for him," Harrell said.
Pearl said Antoine and Anthony Mason were close. Saturday, after Mason came up big again against Kentucky, Pearl said Mason's dad "is very proud of him."

"He represented the family well."

Mason didn't start Auburn's first three SEC Tournament games, but he was back in the starting lineup for his final game.

"It felt good hearing your name coming out there," he said.

Mason did to Kentucky what others could not this season.

"I always like to show up against the best teams, the biggest moments," Mason said. "Going against Kentucky, you get to watch them every time because they're always on ESPN. I did my little scouting and figured certain things. They're big, and you have to play smart against them because they'll just start blocking shots. You have to throw your body into them a little bit and finish. Or pull up in front of them, and kind of mix it up. I was able to do that both games.

"You want to show you can compete against the best teams. That is the reason I came here."

Mason said he'll remain in Auburn, though he'll return to New York during spring break to visit his mother.

Then, he said he'll return to Auburn and to his friends to begin preparing for the next step in his basketball future.

From Twitter...

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



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