Five takeaways from Auburn’s first two games in Hawaii


#1 Hard to win if Canty can’t score

There is no doubt that the Tigers don’t beat New Mexico in the first game if Canty doesn’t put up 27 points, and there is no way they beat Harvard in the second game with Canty only scoring 3 points. The offense clearly runs through the junior guard, and the success of this team is dependent on him putting up a lot of points. Canty clearly didn’t have it against Harvard and that led to Auburn producing their lowest point total in a game all year.

Fortunately for the Tigers Canty doesn’t have a game like that very often. You can probably chalk this misfire up to the fact that the Tigers have been on the road a lot lately and were playing in back-to-back days. He’s still averaging 19 points a game, and that’s where we expect him to be when the Tigers play Hawaii on Friday.

#2 Bowers much improved off the bench

Bruce Pearl made an adjustment in the first game of the Diamond Head Classic to bring Cinmeon Bowers off the bench. He obviously reads our articles and realized as we did that Auburn’s bench was really struggling, which allowed teams to catchup when Auburn’s starters where on the bench.

Bowers has responded well to the new role as he’s put up 29 points and 21 rebounds in the first two games of the tournament. He was especially huge in the New Mexico game when Canty was on the bench. He was one of the few players that had success offensively against a very good Harvard defense. If Pearl can stick with this rotation it could be a boost for Auburn entering SEC play.

#3 Injuries mounting up

The Tigers already lost Tahj Shamsid-Deen last week, and in the game against Harvard T.J. Dunans had to be carried off the court after injuring his left knee. The Tigers are already dealing with a depth issue as we’ve mentioned how much the bench has struggled to keep up the pace of the starters.

If Dunans misses a significant amount of time it would devastating to this Auburn team. Dunans averages over 12 points a game and leads the team in steals. He is the do-it-all, energizing type player that the Tigers have to have on the court. Injuries are a part of the game, but Auburn has had more than their fair share of them this year.

#4 Tyler Harris shows back up

After back-to-back games of 4 point performances, Tyler Harris played much better against Harvard. He did a lot of good work down in the paint early in the game, and then late in the game he continued to play hard despite being down by 20 points. You could tell he was frustrated by his previous outings, which could be blamed on being in foul trouble early in each game.

In the Harvard game he scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his first double-double in three games. It didn’t make much difference in this one as Canty was cold, but normally when Canty is on the added production from Harris is what will help Auburn prevail. You could see an obvious change in his performance between the New Mexico and Harvard games and hopefully he can keep it up.

#5 Free throw shooting

The Tigers continue to be an inconsistent team from the free throw line this year. During the first two games of the Diamond Head Classic the Tigers were 24-41 from the free throw line. Shooting 59 percent from the stripe is never a good place to be. To be fair, they shot much better in the New Mexico game than in the Harvard game where they missed 10 free throw shots.

In the New Mexico game hitting their free throws was the difference in winning their game, and while it wouldn’t have made much a difference in the Harvard, it sure didn’t help that the team shot so poorly from the stripe. Bowers continues to struggle from the charity stripe as he was 6-16 in the two games.