AUBURN, AL - Steve Peterson made a fade-away, contested 18-footer from the baseline just before the shot clock expired with 15.1 seconds remaining in the game to give Columbus State a 54-52 exhibition victory over Auburn in Auburn Arena on Monday.
After calling time out, the Tigers brought the ball down the court and had three shots in the lane to tie it as Earnest Ross missed a jumper, Kenny Gabriel*s tip-in fell off followed by a Rob Chubb putback that went awry as time expired.
Ross led Auburn with 14 points and six rebounds and Gabriel had eight points and 11 boards while Andre Malone chipped in 10 points off the bench. The Tigers shot a woeful 7-of-20 from the foul line and made a valiant effort coming back from a 12 point deficit with 12 minutes to play.
"We have a long way to go," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "Like I told our guys, the best thing about this game tonight (Monday night) , it doesn't count. I thought we did some good things when we got down 12. I thought at that point, we played with a little bit of desperation and a sense of purpose that we have to from the tip. With this team, we are going to be offensively challenged this year. I thought we did some good things defensively. We did hold them to 29 percent shooting from the floor which is a great number, but then we gave up 15 offensive rebounds. If we go 10-for-20 from the foul line, instead of 7-for-20, that's 50 percent, which is an awful number, we still win by one."
Auburn jumped out to a 10-2 lead but let Div. II Columbus State score 11 straight points, and the game was on from there. The Cougars pushed its lead to as much as six points before settling for a 32-27 lead at the half.
The Tigers opened the second half by scoring only two points in the first 8:16 of the second half as the Cougars built their largest lead of the game at 41-29 with 12:19 to play. Auburn then scored eight straight points to get to within 41-37 with nine minutes to go, but Columbus State pushed its lead back out to 50-42 with 3:46 left.
Two baskets by Gabriel and a 3-pointer by Ross allowed Auburn to tie the game at 50 with 1:28 remaining. That was the first time the Tigers were able to draw even since holding a 19-18 lead with nine minutes to go in the first half.
"We know we're not satisfied by what happened, but one thing we're satisfied with is that we played with poise at the end of the game, and we showed that we had heart," said Gabriel. "It doesn't count on our win-loss record, and we're still showing that we've got a lot of stuff to work on in practice."
Peterson drained a jumper to give Columbus State a 52-50 lead on its next possession, and Chubb tied it at 52 on a layup with 49 seconds on the clock.
Auburn held Columbus State to only 29.6 percent shooting from the field, including 22.2 percent in the second half. The Cougars were also 4-of-14 (.286) from 3-point range but made 18-of-26 (.692) foul shots.
The Tigers shot 32.8 percent from the field, including 5-of-20 from 3-point range. Columbus State outrebounded Auburn 50-44, but the Tigers dominated in points in the paint, 30-10.