Kareem Canty (above) takes a shot for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--Not enough defense, not enough rebounding and not enough accurate free throw shooting were the downfall for Auburn on Tuesday as Coach Bruce Pearl’s basketball Tigers lost 91-84 to Colorado.
Playing an afternoon game as part of ESPN’s hoops marathon, Colorado used its size and strength inside to out-rebound the Tigers 38-30.
The Buffaloes also hurt the Tigers with their shooting, making 57.4 percent of their field goals to 46.3 percent for the home team.
The Tigers hurt their cause by struggling at the foul line, hitting just 12-22 while Colorado made 21-26.
Auburn led the majority of the game, but Colorado moved ahead 61-60 with two free throws by Dominique Collier with 12:51 to play and they never trailed after that.
“With the exception of 11 first half turnovers they basically did whatever they wanted to do,” Pearl said of Colorado’s offense.
“We are terrifically disappointed at the lost opportunity,” said Pearl, who had high praise for the fans, and the students in particular, for showing up to support the team. A crowd of 7,241 watched the action.
“When you give up 91 points you can’t be pleased with the defensive effort,” Pearl said, adding that Colorado deserves credit for playing well. However, he added, “When you score 84 points you should be able to win.”
Pearl added, “Our perimeter guys had a very difficult time staying in front of them and I?thought we could have competed better to be able to stay in front of them. I?thought our inside players, at times, let the ball go into the post too easily.”
Kareem Canty led the Tigers in scoring with 24 points while dishing out seven assists and turning the ball over just two times. Canty scored 19 of his points in the first half.
Tyler Harris scored 23 points and led the Tigers on the boards with 12 rebounds. Both totals were collegiate career highs for the transfer from Providence College and it was his first college double-double.
Tyler Harris, a six-foot-ten forward, is shown in action in his second regular season game for the Tigers.
Harris called the loss a tough one to take after leading the Buffaloes by as many as 15 points in the first half. “We felt like we had them in the first half and kind of let up a little bit towards the end of the first half,” he said. “It was kind of tough for us to get the lead back in the second (half).”
Canty played a major role in the first half as he scored 19 points in the period. “The first half I came out hot,” he said. “The second half I tried to get my teammates more involved so I kind of like took a backseat.” He said when he tried to get back into a scoring mode in the second half it was “too late.”
Auburn dropped to 1-1 with the loss after falling Colorado for a second straight season. The Buffaloes, who lost to No. 7 Iowa State last week, are also 1-1.
Halftime Numbers: Colorado led by as many as seven points at the 13:00 mark while the Tigers were on top by as many as 15 points at the 3:48 mark, but the Buffaloes scored 13 of the final 15 points in the half to cut the lead to 46-42 at the break.
Auburn hit 16-29 field goals for 55.2 percent in the period and was 8-14 on threes and 6-10 at the foul line. Canty made 5-6 threes and had 19 points at intermission while Harris scored 13 in the first half. The Tigers were out-rebounded 16-12 in the first half and had eight turnovers, three fewer than the Buffaloes.
Colorado hit 59.3 percent of its first half shots, 5-9 threes and 5-7 free throws. Josh Scott scored 15 points in the period and George King added 13 points.
The visitors outshot Auburn 55.6 percent in the second half to 39.5 percent and eventually built a safe lead that reached 14 points with 3:22 to play. King burned the Tigers for 27 points as the guard hit 9-14 field goals and 4-6 threes. Scott was a force inside for the Buffaloes, hitting 8-10 field goals, 8-10 free throws, pulling in nine rebounds and blocking three shots.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle said he was impressed with his team defeating what he said is a much improved Auburn team from the squad the Buffaloes defeated last year in Boulder. He said his team showed “mental toughness” playing in front of a loud crowd vs. a team that got off to a great start.
“I?thought our defense was much better in the second half and offensively we had some guys grow up big time,” Boyle added.
Worth Noting, Part 1: Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who missed the exhibition games and the regular season opener vs. UAB, returned to action from his shoulder injury. He played 15 minutes and scored two points, added two assists and had no turnovers with one steal.
Tahj Shamsid-Deen is a junior guard who made his 2015-16 debut vs. the Buffaloes.
Worth Noting, Part 2: Bryce Brown, who was ineligible for the UAB game and missed one of the exhibition games with an injury, saw action for the Tigers. The freshman guard played seven minutes and scored two points.
Worth Noting, Part 3: Auburn outscored Colorado 16-8 on fastbreak points, 23-12 on points off of turnovers and 36-30 on points in the paint while the Buffaloes had a 20-12 advantage in bench points and a 13-10 edge in second chance points.
Stat of the Game: The Buffaloes held a 29-17 advantage in defensive rebounds with many of those plays coming when the Buffaloes made their run to take the lead in the second half.
The Tigers will return to action with a Friday home game vs. Georgia Southern that will tip off at 8:30 p.m. CST.