It doesn't technically count, but Auburn's overtime exhibition loss to Division II Barry University isn't setting the tone to start the year that head coach Bruce Pearl wanted.
Thanks to hot shooting from beyond the arc and capitalization on Auburn mistakes, the Barry Buccaneers from Miami, Florida upset the Auburn Tigers in Auburn Arena, 100-95.
“Because it’s a Division-II opponent, people are going to look at that and go, ‘Oh, wow,’” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “I coached in Div. II for nine years and I can tell you that
"I really feel like today was a learning process," sophomore forward Anfernee McLemore said. "We need to use this game and move forward and find out what we messed up on and what we can improve on."
Barry attempted 41 shots from three, but one particular shot stood out Thursday night.
With the clock winding down in regulation, Auburn leading 84-81, a Bucs attempt by Elvar Fridriksson rimmed off the front of the basket, but Barry was able to haul in an offensive board. The ball was kicked out to guard Sawyer Glick, who drained a dead-on triple as the regulation buzzer sounded to push the contest to overtime.
The teams traded blows in the overtime period before Barry hit a pair of clutch three-pointers with under a minute-and-a-half remaining. Barry's 11th offensive rebound after a missed free-throw sealed the deal.
“It was good exposure for us. It showed us a lot of our weaknesses,” Pearl said. “We had four or five guys that didn’t play well. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Barry hung with the SEC's Tigers the whole way, as neither team led by double digits.
"“I’m really disappointed in the defense because we’ve made so much progress,” Bruce Pearl said. “I think a lot of it has to do with the opponent. My best defensive guard is Davion Mitchell and he was in foul trouble.
Mustapha Heron, who served as the second player to foul out in a game with 58 combined personal fouls (Johannes Dolven, Barry), led Auburn in point production with 21.
Guard Jared Harper added 20 points and seven
"During the game, we had some of the same mistakes we had last year," Harper said. "It was good for us to learn throughout this game."
Auburn announced Thursday morning that it would hold Wiley and forward Danjel Purifoy out of the exhibition contest in the wake the FBI investigation against the program. Their names were not listed on the official rosters and they weren’t on the bench.
"As a team, we weren't really thinking of the Danjel and Austin situation," Harper said. "We were focused on what we had in front of us, which we have had the mindset all preseason, which was to focus on what we control."
The loss to Barry University marked Auburn's first loss in an exhibition game since 2010 when Tony Barbee's first team lost to Division-II Columbus State 54-52.
"Let's be real, their two best players didn't even play," Barry head coach Butch Estes said. "If they had played it probably wouldn't have been close."
The Tigers will open regular season play next Friday, Nov. 10 against Norfolk State at Auburn Arena.