Auburn Basketball vs Middle Tennessee State Game Info and Preview


Auburn Tigers (6-5) vs Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (7-5)

  • Date: Monday, December 29, 2014
  • Start Time: 8PM Central
  • Location: Auburn, AL
  • Arena: Auburn Arena
  • TV Info: SEC Network
  • Odds (via Auburn (-7.5)

The holiday break came at the right time for the Auburn basketball team, which has stormed back from double-digit deficits to win twice in a row. The current win streak is at three following the 61-60 win over Texas Southern last game, which gave Auburn a 6-5 record this season.

Now, the Tigers should be rested for their next to last non-conference game of the 2014-15 season, building momentum in order to begin conference play playing their best basketball. Auburn hosts Middle Tennessee State tonight in the fourth of a five-game home stretch.

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So far this season, the Tigers are 5-1 at home and have averaged 78.7 points per contest. Auburn has held opponents to 70.2 points per game at home, and is shooting 44.6% from the floor and 36.2% from beyond the three-point line.

That production is quite a contrast from what the Tigers have done away from Auburn Arena. Auburn is 1-4 on the road, averaging only 54.0 points and shooting just 36.4% and 24.8% from beyond the arc. Opponents have averaged 66.0 points with 49.1% shooting in those games.

Of course, much of those previous results came with the Tigers undermanned. Senior guard Antoine Mason missed six games earlier this season with an ankle injury, and forward Alex Thompson and center Trayvon Reed had yet to join the squad. Now, all three are playing pivotal roles, and the added depth is paying big dividends.

Mason – a graduate transfer from Niagara – passed the 2,000-point mark for his career against Texas Southern, which made Auburn the only team in the nation to have a player with 2,000 career points and another with 1,000. K.T. Harrell moved in to quadruple digits earlier this season.

The pair of senior guards are finding their stride in their first season playing together, and are now the team’s top two scorers. In fact, Harrell is the SEC’s leading scorer with 17.8 points per game.

Dec 20, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers guard K.T. Harrell (1) and forward Cinmeon Bowers (5) battle for a rebound with Xavier Musketeers center Matt Stainbrook (40) during the second half at Auburn Arena. The Tigers beat the Musketeers 89-88 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Harrell isn’t the only Tiger atop the league leaderboard, however. Junior forward Cinmeon Bowers leads the SEC and ranks third in the country with 8.3 defensive rebounds per game and 11.8 total rebounds per game. He also leads the league and ranks second nationally with 130 total rebounds.

Seven times this season Bowers had had double-digit rebounds, and he’s registered seven double-doubles so far. He is one of 17 players in the country to average a double-double this season with 13.4 points per game and 11.8 rebounds.

A big reason for Bowers’ emergence has been the additions of Thompson and Reed.

After beginning his Auburn career with four consecutive double-doubles, Bowers struggled with fatigue and foul trouble. Every time he came off the court, it put the Tigers at a major size disadvantage. Over the last three games, Bowers has appeared rejuvenated. And the results have shown on the scoreboard.

Looking ahead to Monday’s game with the Blue Raiders, Mason, Harrell, Bowers and the rest of the Tigers will one again have their hands full with a quality opponent.

“All these guys do is win,” Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said recently. “They are really, really good in the half court both offensively and defensively. They guard our ball screen stuff well, they sink down well. We’re going to have to really execute in order to beat this club.

“This Middle Tennessee State team would not finish last in the SEC. This is a team that would probably finish in the lower half, but it’s the kind of team that you have to beat at home in league play if you are going to be a post-season team. They are absolutely good enough to beat us. They’re deep and their stuff is hard to guard, so it is going to be a great exercise for us.”

Projected Lineups:


#5 Cinmeon Bowers, F, Jr., 6-foot-7, 278 pounds, 13.4 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 29.0 MPG
#25 Jordon Granger, F, Jr., 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, 5.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 24.3 MPG
#1 K.T. Harrell, G, Sr., 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, 17.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 33.1 MPG
#13 Tahj Shamsid-Deen, G, So., 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, 6.6 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 25.8 MPG
#14 Antoine Mason, G, Sr., 6-foot-1, 216 pounds, 14.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 30.0 MPG

Middle Tennessee State

#42 Jacquez Rozier, F, Sr., 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, 10.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 27.5 MPG
#0 Darnell Harris, F, Jr., 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, 5.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 14.4 MPG
#10 Jaqawn Raymond, G, Jr., 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, 7.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 28.3 MPG
#11 Ed Simpson, G, Fr., 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, 4.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 19.9 MPG
#20 Giddy Potts, G, Fr., 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, 3.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 12.0 MPG

Next: Football: Did the 2014 Tigers Suffer From a Lack of Senior Leadership?

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