The Tigers didn't put the game away until four seconds remained when McGadney nailed a six-foot baseline jumper to extend Auburn's lead to four points.
"It feels good to be back in the mix of things," said McGadney, who led all scorers with 29 points despite playing just 18 minutes. "I am happy that Coach (Cliff) Ellis gave me an opportunity to go out there and play." The senior is coming back from knee surgery and a fall suspension for violating team rules.
McGadney said that he has recently dropped 10 pounds since going on a special conditioning program. He bore no resemblance to the sluggish senior who got nothing done a week earlier in the first exhibition game.
"I have been working out two times a day (not including practice) and my knees are getting back up under me," McGadney said. "I am running around out there and I feel good and I am smiling again. It feels good to be out there with the team."
After junior Marquis Daniels fouled out midway through the second half with 15 points on seven of nine field goal shooting, McGadney was the only consistent scorer down the stretch. His young teammates realized that and started feeding the senior and he responded by making 12 of his 18 shots. "That is not too bad," McGadney said with a big smile as he studied the scoring summary outside the Auburn locker room.
The Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum crowd estimated at 4,000 fans watched the Tigers jumped to a 43-32 halftime lead. The highlight was a SportsCenter quality putback slam by freshman Brandon Robinson. He finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
The Tigers were in control of the game until the final minutes. A combination of seven straight missed free throws by the Tigers, who hit just 12-27 for the game, plus turnovers and hot shooting from the visitors helped EA Sports make its late run. "We definitely need to pick up on our defense," said McGadney. "We got lax in the last five minutes."
Ellis gave the visitors credit for making the game a close one. EA Sports made 11-28 three pointers.
"I liked a lot of things that I saw," Ellis said. "I thought, first of all, we got a good contest from this basketball team. They came out and really shot the three extremely well. The part that pleased me is that we got a lot of people in. I thought McGadney really stepped up and seemed to make a little push here in this game, which is good. I don't think he can play now for a prolonged period of time, but the minutes he gets are solid.
"Overall, I am pleased, really and truly. I thought the team we played with Richie Frahm (former Gonzaga guard), Curtis Staples (former Virginia guard) and Adrian Peterson (former Oklahoma State guard). Down the stretch they hit some big, big threes with defense in their face."
The Tigers got 10 points from new shooting guard Derrick Bird, who hit three of eight field goals and added eight rebounds. The big difference in the game is that the Tigers crushed EA Sports on the boards, holding a 53-30 advantage. That made up for being outshot at the foul line and from three-point land.
The Tigers hit just 4-18 three-pointers while EA Sports made 11-28. Auburn hit just 12-27 free throws while the visitors made 15-23. Auburn did outshoot EA Sports from the field by a 47.1 to 40.3 margin.
Elllis played 10 different Tigers, including walk-on shooting guard Nathan Watson from Fort Payne, who was a standout at an instrasquad scrimmage earlier in the week. The Auburn coach says the decision has been made to not to redshirt the former the Fort Payne High star.
Point guard Lewis Monroe did not see action. He was limping from a practice injury, but Ellis said, "I meant to get him into the game and I wish we had."
The Tigers open the regular season next Friday with a game vs. Highpoint at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.