After a late second half rally came up short for Auburn, the Tigers fell to the Appalachian State Mountaineers 69-64 at the Holmes Convocation Center.
A scrappy game in front of a packed house saw the Tigers shoot very poorly from the field and from the free throw line, opening the door for the Mountaineers to protect their home court with a win.
The Tigers shot a brutal 14.3% from deep, and an equally devastating 47.4% from the free throw line. The story of the game was certainly the amount of points Auburn left at the charity stripe. Junior big man Johni Broome did a great job getting to the line, but was able to convert on only one of his seven attempts.
“We missed 10 free throws and we made nine,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl after the loss. “You can’t go on the road and get beat at the foul line like we did.”
The story was the opposite for Appalachian State in the second half. The Mountaineers shot the lights out from deep, going 7-12 from three point range in the second, to push the lead up to as much as 11.
Appalachian State got a huge performance from junior guard Myles Tate, as he went for 18 points. He only made two threes, but his second triple late in the game was the dagger for Auburn, as the Mountaineers went up by six with just 34 seconds to go.
“You have to give App State credit,” said Pearl. “Their guards were really, really good. We had a hard time staying in front of [Myles] Tate and [Donovan] Gregory.”
Auburn fed Johni Broome all game, as he went for his second double-double in as many contests. The forward from Plant City, Florida went off for 21 points and 13 boards, with four of those coming on the offensive glass. However, his big output would not be enough to keep Auburn in step with Appalachian State.
The Tigers would also dominate in the team offensive rebounding category, totaling 20 to the Mountaineers 6. Second chance efforts were there for Auburn all game long, but the inability to hit shots from deep negated the advantages for coach Pearl’s squad.
Auburn would only grab 15 second chance points off of their 20 offensive rebounds.
“The bottom line is we didn’t play well enough to win,” said Pearl. “If we can’t win here, then we’re not going to go to Arkansas and win at Arkansas for the opener in the SEC.”
It does not get any easier for the Tigers in the month of December. Auburn travels to Atlanta on Saturday to take on Indiana, before facing UNC Asheville at a neutral site and hosting USC at home.
The game against Indiana will take place inside State Farm Arena with tip off scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT. You can listen live on the Auburn Sports Network, or watch the game live on ESPN2.