Auburn Basketball: Quotes and Reaction to Tigers Win Over Milwaukee


The Auburn basketball team opened the 2014-15 season with an 83-73 victory over Milwaukee, but it was far from easy. The Tigers fought back from a 55-43 second half deficit, went on a 40-18 run to end the game, and won by double-figures.

New Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl earned his first victory with the Tigers. And he liked what he saw from his team.

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“I thought the team showed a lot of character,” Pearl said. “It starts with upper-classmen. Character counts in those situations. The guys also got to see that pressure has a cumulative effect on a game. You never know when it is going to rear its ugly head, and you could see in that second half we got a couple of bang-bang turnovers that either kept us in the game or allowed us to take control of the game.”

The upper-classmen led the charge offensively. Auburn’s talented senior scoring duo of K.T. Harrell and newcomer Antoine Mason, the SEC and national leading returning scorers, respectively, combined for 39 points. Harrell was huge in the second half and showed an ability to take over the game by scoring 18 of his 20 points in the game’s second twenty minutes.

Mason showed fearlessness in attacking the basket. The Niagara transfer was just 5-for-14 from the field in the game, but never hesitated to take a shot when he felt he was open. He also showed great toughness, shaking off an ankle injury in the second half.

Nov 14, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers guard KT Harrell (1) takes a shot against Milwaukee Panthers forward Bret Prahl (50) during the second half at Auburn Arena. The Tigers beat the Panthers 83-73. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

“It was a pretty nasty ankle sprain. He played through it. We played through injury and played through some real challenges.”

Mason wasn’t the only Tiger who suffered an injury. After sophomore guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen scored, he forced a turnover, then hurt his shoulder fighting for the loose ball.

“He did sublex the shoulder, which means it came out and then went back. He has never done it before. We are just going to have to see.”

With Shamsid-Deen out, K.C. Ross-Miller and Malcolm Canada will be called upon to play a bigger role. Ross-Miller showed the ability to score – he had nine of Auburn’s first 19 points – and finished with 13 points against the Panthers.

Ross-Miller, like Mason is a new member of the Auburn basketball family. Another transfer, Cinmeon Bowers, stepped up and had a huge game in his Tiger debut.

“Obviously he put up man numbers,” Pearl said of Bowers. “And there were times in the game where he was a strong factor. He also made some plays that he knows he should not make. I like it when he takes it out and goes full court, but there were a couple of occasions where he did not make the right decisions. But if I can get him to clean it up a little bit, I know the good will outweigh the bad when it comes to that.”

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  • Bowers scored 18 points and had 17 rebounds in the win, showing flashes of the physical nature and athleticism that has earned him many comparisons to Auburn great Charles Barkley. He also provided energy and passion that helped to fuel the crowd and the players. Auburn Arena responded.

    “It moves me and I know where our program is going,” Pearl said. They are a huge part of it. We are going to be in a lot of these nail biters. We are going to be in a lot of these battles. I am just glad the fans got rewarded for their support. They are going to leave here knowing that it was a struggle.”

    “We went to the exits tonight to thank the fans for coming. I do not think our kids want to let the fans down.”

    “The fans are everything. They helped us get back in the game,” Harrell said.

    And the fans fueled the Tigers to a second half comeback, and to Pearl’s first win on the Plains.

    “It was huge. We really wanted to get that ‘W’ for him,” said Harrell.

    The Tigers did get that ‘W,’ and they’re now 1-0 heading into a midnight showdown with Colorado in Boulder Monday night/Tuesday morning.

    Next: Bruce Pearl Era Begins With a Win

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