K.T. and K.C. Help K.O. The Beavers

A pair of senior guards, K.T. Harell and K.C. Ross-Miller, led Auburn to an exciting 71-69 basketball victory vs. Oregon State.

K.T. Harrell heads to the hoop for the Tigers. The senior guard scored 20 points.

Las Vegas, Nev.--With five players scoring in double figures, the Auburn Tigers held off Oregon State to take a 71-69 basketball victory on Wednesday night.

A pair of senior guards, K.T. Harrell and K.C. Ross-Miller, made clutch plays to enable the Tigers to win the consolation game in the MGM Grand Main Event tournament.

All in the last minute, Ross-Miller drew a charge and was 4-4 at the foul line in a game that was close from start to finish.

Harrell, who bounced back from his first off night of the season on Monday, drew two charges late in the contest and scored five straight points on a three-point bomb and a finger-roll with the score tied at 61-61 to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t give up.

Harrell finished with 20 points while Ross-Miller, Malcolm Canada and Tajh Shamsid-Deen contributed 11 points apiece.

Tajh Shamsid-Deen takes a three-pointer vs. the Beavers.

Cinemon Bowers, who had produced a double-double in the four previous games this season, came close with 10 points and eight rebounds. The junior power forward was only able to take six field goals vs. the Beavers and did not have an offensive rebound.

The Tigers improved to 3-2 while Oregon State’s record dropped to 3-2.

“They played so hard,” Coach Bruce Pearl said of his team’s performance. “Oregon State was bigger at every position. It was game about tempo.”

Ross-Miller hit two free throws with 26.3 seconds left to put the Tigers up 69-63, but Olaf Schaftenaar nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead to three points.

Ross-Miller hit two more free throws with 10.1 seconds remaining that proved to be the winning margin because Malcolm Duvivier hit another three-pointer for the Beavers to beat the buzzer.

Pearl said the Tigers got contributions from a variety of players on a night he used 10 guys, including walk-ons Devin Waddell and Cole Stockton.

“It was great to win without Cinmeon being on his game,” the coach pointed out. “He did make a couple of big free throws, and one huge free throw (with 47 seconds left) and he was 4-6 from the foul line that enable us to get out of here with the ‘W.’ Obviously, these kids wanted to win because they wanted to have a happier Thanksgiving.

“I just wanted to play better,” said Pearl, who noted his players did that. “This is an Oregon State team from the Pac-12 that is going to beat some people.”

Bruce Pearl shouts instructions during the game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The Tigers, who hit just 2-22 three-point shots in their Monday loss to Tulsa, made 7-17 threes vs. the Beavers while shooting 53 percent from the field hitting 21-40 field goals. Oregon shot the ball well, too, making 50 percent of its 52 field goals.

Auburn’s edge came at the foul line where the Tigers made 22-32 attempts while the Beavers made 11-17.

Gary Patton II, the son of the former NBA star, led the Beavers in scoring with 20 points.

Halftime Numbers: Auburn was on top 41-35 with Canada leading the scoring with nine points. Shamsid-Deen had eight while Harrell scored six with Bowers and Ross-Miller adding five each.

The Tigers out-shot the Beavers from the field hitting 13-22 field goals (59 percent) to 14-28 (50 percent). Auburn made 5-11 threes and 10-15 free throws. OSU made 3-12 threes and 4-6 free throws. The Beavers held a 14-12 rebounding edge and had six turnovers, one less than OSU.

Stat of the Night: Playing a much taller opponent, the Tigers were just minus six for points in the paint (28 to 22) and minus six in total rebounds (30 to 24).

Still A No-Go: Senior guard Antoine Mason, who has played just one game this season due to an ankle injury, was held out of action against the Beavers.

Worth Noting, Part 1: Canada took just three shots from the field and made each of them, including a pair of threes. He was 3-4 at the foul line. It was an AU career scoring high for the senior.

Worth Noting, Part 2: The score was tied a dozen times and the lead changed nine times.

Bench Support: The Tigers' reserves out-scored OSU's backups 17-12 with Canada contributing 11 points while freshmen T.J. Lang and Jack Purchase each contributed a three-pointer.

Holiday Plans: The Tigers, who arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday, headed back to Auburn via a charter flight immediately after the game so the players and coaches could spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Quotable Tiger: Harrell said he liked the way his team play. "We executed pretty well," he said. "We still have some stuff to work on. We had some tough times in the beginning, but we worked it through, played together and shared the ball well." The guard made 7-13 field goals.

Up Next: Auburn will return to action on Dec. 3rd in Lubbock, Tex., where the Tigers will take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech in the SEC/Big XII Challenge. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CST and coverage is on the SEC Network.

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