The bigger issue for Auburn (23-4, 11-3 SEC), which remains alone atop the SEC standings despite the loss, is the dislocated ankle suffered by leading shot-blocker Anfernee McLemore during the first half. They trailed by as many as 26 points in the first half and went into the break trailing 21, both of which marked season-highs. "They showed a lot of heart, a lot of character".
The Auburn Tigers will take on the South CarolinaGamecocks in one of the NCAA basketball games on Saturday, start time at 3:30 PM ET, at Colonial Live Arena, Columbia, South Carolina.
As a team, Auburn grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in the second half and outrebounded the Gamecocks, 30-17, after halftime.
No. 10 Auburn defeated Kentucky by 10 points on Valentine's Day, making Tigers coach Bruce Pearl love leading scorer Bryce Brown even more heading into Saturday's game at SC. Maik Kotsar made a reverse layup, and then, in one of the biggest possessions of the game, SC grabbed two offensive rebounds and ran 1:13 off the clock before Wesley Myers drew a foul.
With less than a minute and a half left in the half, McLemore was playing help defense when South Carolina's Wesley Myers drove toward the basket. "They disrupted our timing".
Auburn was led by Mustapha Heron with 16 points, but he did most of his damage at the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Jared Harper had 18 points and seven assists in the Tigers' win over Kentucky. Bryce Brown was even worse, going 3-16 and 2-13 from three. SC had a 46-25 lead at halftime.
"Now we're down to eight scholarship guys, and we'll find a way", Pearl said.
Chris Silva had 14 points and 11 rebounds for SC, his sixth double-double of the season.
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