Auburn Basketball: Tigers vs Coastal Carolina Game Info and Preview


Auburn Tigers (3-3) vs Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (5-2)

Date: Friday, December 5, 2014
Start Time: 8PM Central
Location: Auburn, AL
Arena: Auburn Arena
TV Info: Fox Sports Network
Odds (via TBD

Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same can be said for the Auburn basketball program.

With a record of 3-3 following an ugly 46-44 loss to Texas Tech Wednesday, the Tigers obviously have a long way to go.

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“We didn’t play well,” Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said after the game. “Defensively, I thought we did a really good job. To hold them to 41 percent shooting, to hang in there on the boards with them, to give them four assists and 17 turnovers, our kids gave a great effort.”

But… “I didn’t think we would have as much trouble scoring.”

Coming in to the season, no one thought Auburn would have trouble scoring. The Tigers had the SEC’s leading returning scorer (K.T. Harrell) and the nation’s leading returning scorer (Antoine Mason). Harrell has been great, but an ankle injury to Mason has cost him five games already. Mason practiced this week, and reportedly did not look good, and is questionable to return to the floor tonight.

The loss of Mason has highlighted the biggest issues the Tigers have this season: A lack of depth and size. An example came Wednesday when impressive newcomer and junior college transfer Cinmeon Bowers found himself in early foul trouble against the Red Raiders.

Bowers is still averaging a double-double this season (13.3 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game), and still leads the SEC in rebounding, but he failed to secure a double-double for the second straight game after beginning his Auburn career with four in a row. He was limited to four points and eight boards in just 21 minutes in Lubbock.

Simply, for the Tigers to be competitive in Pearl’s first season, they need their trio of star players on the court and producing.

Dec 3, 2014; Lubbock, TX, USA; Auburn Tigers guard KT Harrell (1) shoots over Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Devaugntah Williams (0) in the second half at United Supermarkets Arena. Texas Tech defeated Auburn 46-44. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

And for Auburn to win tonight, and continue to build the program for the future, they’ll have to beat one of their own.

“I think Bruce is really going to turn this thing and the reason I say that is No. 1 he’s got a lot of energy, I can see it when I talk to him and visit with him,” current Coastal Carolina head coach and former Auburn basketball coach Cliff Ellis said in a recent interview with “He plays a style of game that we used to play when those championships were here; he’s pressing, he’s doing things to try to get possessions from those teams like Kentucky and people like that that are going to come in here and have all the All-Americans. So he’s going to bring that style of play that fans like, fans are going to like him, and he’s going to get people involved and he’s going to recruit. If you do that, it’s good.

“I want to see it turned back. The thing that I look back is when we left the program, from ’99-04 there was an SEC Championship, three NCAA Tournaments, two Sweet 16s.”

Ellis was 186-125 (.598) in his ten seasons on the Plains, which is the most successful stretch for the Auburn basketball program. He is 134-90 in seven seasons in Conway and 746-437 overall in 37 years as a college head coach. His return to Auburn will be emotional, and Pearl was a major factor in scheduling it.

“Let us honor him, and let us remember all the good that was done,” Pearl said. “Let his former players relish a little bit. I’m glad that Cliff was able to come back and play in a game. For our basketball fans and our season ticket holders, this isn’t just another basketball game. This is another event.”

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  • It’s an event, but it’s also a basketball game that both head coaches want to win.

    Coastal Carolina is an experienced team that is considered a favorite to win the Big South and make the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. The Chanticleers actually led Virginia at halftime of their first round game last season, and they return four starters from that team.

    Warren Gillis is the team’s best playmaker and leading scorer and Elijah Wilson is a very versatile player. Both are All-Conference candidates. However, one thing the Coastal Carolina doesn’t have, which every Auburn opponent has so far, is a major size advantage. The squad will play three guards and two 6-foot-7, 220-pound forwards. If Bowers can avoid could trouble tonight, he should have a good game against the pair.

    Expect another close game, but a winnable one for the Tigers.

    Projected Lineups:


    #5 Cinmeon Bowers, F, Jr., 6-foot-7, 278 pounds, 13.3 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 29.3 MPG
    #25 Jordon Granger, F, Jr., 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, 5.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 24.5 MPG
    #1 K.T. Harrell, G, Sr., 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, 17.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 30.8 MPG
    #13 Tahj Shamsid-Deen, G, So., 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, 7.7 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 27.3 MPG
    #12 K.C. Ross-Miller, G, Sr., 6-foot, 178 pounds, 7.7 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 23.0 MPG

    Coastal Carolina

    #0 Warren Gillis, G, Sr., 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, 12.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.8 APG
    #10 Shivaughn Wiggins, G, So., 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, 10.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG
    #22 Elijah Wilson, G, So., 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, 8.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.0 APG
    #23 Badou Diagne, F, Jr., 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, 7.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 0.4 APG
    #21 Tristian Curtis, F, Jr., 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, 3.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.0 APG

    Next: Muschamp Update: South Carolina, Auburn Rumors

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