Auburn Basketball 2018—”A Hard-Fighting Team That Never Gave Up”
Bryce Brown and the Auburn Tigers could not get their jump shots to fall during the second round of the NCAA tournament March 18, 2018. (photo by Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics)
Auburn basketball failed to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament Sunday when the Tigers lost to Clemson 84–53. The story of the game was Auburn’s ice-cold shooting, specifically the Tigers’ failure to make the threes, hiting only 7 of 32 long-ball attempts.
Great perimeter shooting and a high percentage from the foul line have been keys to the Auburn offense this year. While Auburn shot 80 percent from the charity stripe, the 21.9 percent from the perimeter did them in.
It was a humbling loss for a team that overcame so much to earn the right to play on the national stage. After losing a popular assistant coach, two of its best players, and seeing injuries whittle down the roster to eight scholarship players, the Tigers defied all odds to win the SEC Championship and earn their first trip to the Big Dance since 2003.
It was an amazing performance for a team picked before the season to finish near the bottom of the league. After winning the school’s first SEC Title in 19 years, guard Jarred Harper remarked on how the Tigers had been counted out time and again.
Yet through it all, this bunch never gave up. The crucial blow really didn’t come in the second round of the NCAA. In reality it came February 16th against South Carolina. The team was never the same after Anfernee McLemore suffered a horrific season ending injury in Columbia.
To be sure, it was not the way Auburn wanted it to end. But Tiger fans need to remember this bunch for the special season they gave us—despite all the obstacles.
Auburn forward Howard Spencer said he wanted the team to be remembered, “As a hard-fighting team that never really gave up. Even [in the last game] we didn’t give up. Everybody doubted us, and we still never gave up. We still fought to the very end no matter what.”
That’s the way this group deserves to be remembered …
A hard-fighting team that never gave up!