Kareem Canty has been hot for Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- The guy who couldn't miss at the end of regulation was the same guy who forced overtime with his eighth 3-pointer with three seconds left.
But hot-shooting Auburn team guy Kareem Canty talked of the one that got away in Saturday's loss to Middle Tennessee.
"That's ultimately my fault because good guards don't let big leads go away," Canty said Monday.
Canty scored 28 points and -- get this -- hit four straight 3-pointers in the final 1:55 of regulation to rally the Tigers before the game got away in overtime. Auburn, with a 4-2 record, will be looking for better results against 8-1 Mercer in Tuesday's 8 p.m. game in Auburn Arena in a game will be televised by the SEC Network.
Canty is averaging 19 points per game, which is tied for fourth in the SEC; and his average of six assists per game is tied for second in the league. He's averaging 3.7 3-pointers per game, which is tops in the league.
The possible return of point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen from yet another shoulder injury could go a long way in freeing up Canty even more against Mercer. Coach Bruce Pearl said Shamsid-Deen practiced Sunday and "there is a chance he could play." He hasn't played in a game in 17 days.
Pearl was looking for Shamsid-Deen-like help against Middle Tennessee, saying the Tigers didn't get enough from the complete lineup despite Canty's 28 points and double-double performances from Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris.
Canty said the Tigers are ready to try again.
"It's good that we play right back on Tuesday and not have a 10-day layoff like we had so that we can't just dwell on our last loss and be angry," Canty said. "Hopefully, we get to turn it around against Mercer and come out and play like we are mad for losing, and hopefully, the results will be what we want."
Canty has had to play some point guard in Shamsid-Deen's absence. He'd rather be the shooting guard.
"Having Tahj back, I don't have to play as many minutes," Canty said. "He's our best defender and I get to move over to the two, so it helps me out and the team out in a lot of different ways."
"He makes us better," Pearl said. "He was braced down pretty good. It's his right shoulder that came out, and so it's not his shooting shoulder."
Canty's shooting shoulder feels just fine, especially when he's making the final four baskets at the end of regulation, all 3-pointers, like he did against Middle Tennessee.
"It feels good, even better that we needed those shots, but it would have felt better if we had won," Canty said. "I was frustrated when I got back and then when I woke up yesterday. It didn't actually hit me that we loss until I woke up, and I was kind of mad."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine