Mason scored a game-high 23 points while adding four rebounds and an assist as the Tigers fell 91-67 on Saturday to Kentucky in the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament.
“We didn’t want our season to end, but if we were going to lose it was going to be to a better team that was going to have to beat us,” he said.
“It just wasn’t going to be us making mistakes and regretting it,” he said. “We have no regrets. We played the No. 1 team and they are No. 1 for a reason. I am just happy we gave it all we have got.”
Mason returned to his team the week after his father, Anthony Mason, was buried in New York City. The guard contributed to three wins for the Tigers in the SEC Tournament this week in Nashville and said his teammates and coaches have been helping him through the grieving process.
Mason opened the season, his first at Auburn, with a strong performance vs. Milwaukee, but suffered an ankle injury that kept him sidelined the first month of the schedule and less than full speed until well into conference play. Mason spent the last month traveling between Auburn and New York to be with his father after Anthony Mason suffered a heart attack.
“This year has been very fun and different for me, but I can face any challenge,” he said. “I am going to miss this team.”
Mason gets a dunk in Auburn's overtime win vs. LSU.
Mason noted that he and the other seniors did what they could to get the program going in a positive direction for Coach Bruce Pearl. “We laid the foundation for the next (team),” he said. “That is what we wanted to do. They know that it starts on defense. Once you defend you give yourself a chance.”
The senior guard played well in both of Auburn’s games vs. the Wildcats this season. “Going against Kentucky you get to watch them because they are always on ESPN,” he said. “I did my little scouting and figured how to do certain things against them.
“They are big and you have to play smart against them because they will just start blocking shots. If you are going to take it to them you have to throw your body into them a little bit and then finish or then you pull up in front of them and mix it up.
“You want to show you can compete against the best teams,” Mason said of why he decided to transfer to the SEC for his final season of college basketball.
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