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Trick-shot artist Bruce Pearl looks for Auburn rebound
Nov. 20, 2014

Bruce Pearl will be looking to cheer on Auburn on Friday night

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Auburn basketball coach and trick-shot artist Bruce Pearl is looking for a bounce-back performance from his Tigers after a wayward trip to Colorado.

He'll see if he gets one against Louisiana at 8 p.m. Friday in Auburn Arena, hoping Antoine Mason will be healthy enough to play as he deals with an ankle injury, hoping Tahj Shamsid-Deen's injured shoulder is even stronger than the last game, hoping the Tigers can finish what they couldn't in Colorado.

Pearl, who became an Internet video sensation this week when he appeared on a trick-shot video making a shot from way up in Auburn Arena (it's below), said the Tigers showed effort at Colorado, though much of it was misplaced.

"I thought there were times in the game that our effort was aimless," Pearl said. "We gave effort, but how constructive was it? ...Spacing, timing, screening, defending on and off the ball, following the scouting report and the plan. There was nothing wrong with the effort, but if it's aimless, then it's not going to be effective."

Auburn was within two points of Colorado early in the second half, but lost 90-59. Now, the Tigers, with a lesson learned, will try to bounce back. Auburn is 1-1 against Milwaukee and Colorado, two teams that appeared in the NCAA Tournament last year, and will play its third straight NCAA tourney team Friday.

Guard K.C. Ross-Miller said the Tigers learned at Colorado.

"It was really important getting to experience that atmosphere. When you play in a place like Colorado, against a good team at an early stage, it helps us get some experience and get ready for the SEC," Ross-Miller said.

"Everybody wants to play. Everyone decided to get better and put in the work. It is still early so we are still going to make mistakes, but we have the ability to be a great team. We just have to execute better."

Auburn notebook and game facts here. 

Auburn was already playing shorthanded after Matthew Atewe reinjured a leg that he fractured last year. Then Mason and Shamsid-Deen both suffered injuries against Milwaukee. Shamsid-Deen exited that immediately when he landed on his shoulder. Mason played on, and even scored 19, but was held out of the Colorado game to rest his ankle.

"Tahj came out of the game without any more discomfort, which is great," Pearl said. "He showed toughness, and I remember even talking to his mom on Friday night when he said, 'I'm playing. Tape it up, I'm playing.'

"Between the harness and the strength, there was no greater risk that he would reinjure the shoulder, but it was uncomfortable and it was painful. It's good that he came out of that and hopefully he gets to where he's playing better."
Mason, the nation's leading returning scorer, "ran in the pool" Tuesday.

"He's still questionable for Friday," Pearl said.

Officially, Auburn and Louisiana are playing the final on-campus game in the Las Vegas-based MGM Grand Main Event. Both school will be in Las Vegas next week for the remainder of the event with Auburn in the Heavyweight Bracket with Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Tulsa. Louisiana is in with Milwaukee and Oral Roberts in the Middleweight Bracket.

Bruce Pearl: The trick shot...

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



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