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Auburn Basketball 2018—”A Hard-Fighting Team That Never Gave Up”

By on March 19th, 2018 in Basketball, News 19 Comments »

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!

War Eagle!

19 Comments

  1. BirminghamEagle says:

    "Ice Cold" is right. Auburn shot 66 times and missed on 49. Can't understand how they got so cold. BUT I am Proud of Them for what they did this year, just hate it had to end on a meltdown.

  2. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..I did not get to see the game, last night, as I was at work. I did watch Friday night, and was nervous about this one. Tournament time is when teams elevate their games. Auburn had already elevated as much as they could by midseason, and was just running on fumes down the stretch. Still, my hat’s off to them. SEC Champs! They never quit.

  3. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Win or lose, IT’S ALWAYS GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER!

    This team really put this little saying in all our hearts!

    WAR EAGLE ! Hats off to this team. They never gave up! WAR EAGLE !!!

  4. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    Auburn’s 3 point shooting was way off against Charleston and we all knew they had to get it back to have a chance against ‘any’ of the rest of the teams in their bracket. The loss can’t take away what this team did this year BUT I’m tired of losing to Clemson – at anything!

  5. hello2196 says:

    A tough way to exit the tournament but I’m just glad we were there. All in all it’s been a fun year. Pearl and this team has laid a good foundation for the future. Looking forward to next season.

  6. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    If Wiley and Purifoy come back (plus transfer Samir Doughty), the opposite problem of this year will pop up… too many players. Who will start? How to spread minutes to keep everyone happy?

    I don’t know if Purifoy will be eligible or not; he has had multiple eligibility problems since before his freshman year. But I do think Wiley will come back because he’s first round caliber talent, but I see no mock NBA drafts that even put him in early second round. Besides, why wouldn’t Wiley want to experience winning with this team before going pro? I think Wiley will be in orange and blue in 2019.

  7. WDE7385 WDE7385 says:

    No loss is a good loss and last night was especially bitter.
    That being said, I am Plain proud of this team. A few years back we had the “Eye of the Tiger!”, this team had the “Heart of the Tiger”. This team was always fighting and never gave up.
    WAR DAMN EAGLE !!

  8. CrimsomBear says:

    What an embarrassment to the entire SEC for the champion of our league to not even show up and get blown off the court by Clemson! Let the whole conference down!

  9. audad says:

    I was surprised more was not written about this team in TET over the last 2-3 weeks of the season. Certainly quite an accomplishment to rally and still win the SEC after the McLemore injury, and as many have stated, the team was not the same. But still, they carried a swagger that was shown in the S. Carolina game that was the clincher, and even still in the first half of the Alabama game in St. Louis.

    Living in that area, I attended that game and sat about a dozen rows behind the Auburn bench. We led 41-31 at the half. But when 'bama came out and punched them in the mouth the first five minutes of the 2nd half and took the lead, Auburn staggered, went down, and never recovered.

    For the remainder of the season. The swagger was gone, guys looked lost and defeated, and as much as Pearl tried, there were no answers or lineup combinations that worked. We even looked lost much of the Charleston game, and would have lost had they not shot nearly as poorly as AU did.

    It's a mystery of sports as to why teams gain or lose momentum, and one of the things that makes it so entertaining. Our guys just lost theirs while on the biggest stages of the season. To allow a 32-5 run against Alabama and a 41-9 run against Clemson are things that cannot even be explained. I'm sure the players are as dumbfounded as they are heartbroken. I'm sure they wanted to make a deep run.
    But when these wheels came off, they came all the way off.

    But congrats to them on an excellent season under very difficult circumstances, and for making basketball exciting again at Auburn.

    One silver lining in all of this may be that any of our young guys that were thinking maybe they should enter the NBA draft should realize now how foolish that would be. They should all return next year and be committed more than ever to proving that what they accomplished this year was not a fluke, and that the fluke was the way they staggered down the stretch during the last few games of the season. War eagle.

    • hello2196 says:

      Hello ??? 20 of the last 40 articles here at TET have been about men's basketball.

      • audad says:

        Hey 2196, since you took a minute to call me out, thought I would take two minutes to research and respond. In those past couple weeks I’ve referred to, there have been 2 columns on fishing, 2 on football, 1 on baseball, 1 on softball, and 1 on assorted topics. On basketball, there was 1 leading up to the SEC tourney, 1 leading up to the NCAA tourney, 1 five days after they were embarrassed by Alabama, and then the one by AubTigerman that I replied to yesterday. Just sayin’ that for a team that accomplished so much and at one point had such high expectations, that very little was written about them as they staggered to the finish line. That’s all. War eagle.

        • hello2196 says:

          Sorry Dad, Didn’t mean to insult you. guess I could have said that differently. Only meant that I thought I had seen a lot of basketball coverage in the last two pages or 40 articles.

          • audad says:

            2196, no problem, no real offense taken. That’s one of the best things about TET. We can all exchange ideas and comments, agree or disagree, and always do it as adults with the common interest of Auburn’s success in mind.

            Hey, now we have a baseball team that as of today is #1 in the country in the latest RPI rankings!! Rare air for the baseball Tigers, and let’s hope they can keep it going. War eagle!!

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      You make some very valid points AUDad including that we should have given more ink to the Basketball team this year.
      War Eagle!

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