A career night for freshman guard Mustapha Heron was not enough for the Auburn men's basketball team in Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
The Tigers watched a tip-in fall into the basket with just .2 seconds left on the game clock, to give Boston College a 72-71 lead, and their fifth victory of the season.
“It was a missed opportunity,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “We looked like freshmen early. We spotted them a 10-point lead. BC came in really uncertain of how good they are. They weren’t excited to play a couple of teams that they should have beaten and as a result their RPI is not very good.”
Purifoy, who lead the way all night for Pearl's squad, scored 27 points on the night and gave the Tigers a one point lead off a pair of free throws with 7.5 seconds left. It was too much time for the Eagles.
“Purifoy was terrific. He played great,” Pearl said. “Danjel does not force the action. He does a good job of letting the game come to him.”
Freshman guard Heron was also a bright spot for the Tigers, as he accounted for 15 points and 7 rebounds for Auburn. Early foul trouble allowed Heron to only play 29 minutes in the contest.
Point guard play was also less than stellar for Auburn, as Ronnie Johnson and Jared Harper were a combined 4-18 from the field.
“Our lack of an inside offense is just so glaring that the only way we can really get to the foul line is to just drive it," Pearl said. "They sank really good and we didn’t kick it often enough or properly and we missed a lot of shots.”
Auburn was down by as many as 10 points in the first half, but battled back in the second half and took their first lead with 6:46 remaining in the contest. The score was back in forth, and was knotted at 64 thanks to a deep three from Harper. Auburn then battled to claim a 69-65 lead, but Boston College would not be denied.
“Our biggest issue is we didn’t guard Boston College,” Pearl said. “They drove it to the basket anytime they wanted to. We had to block 11 shots on the inside. I didn’t think our kids competed very well defensively on the perimeter.”
The Eagles were lead by guard Jerome Robinson, who accounted for 23 points in 38 minutes. Robinson also added 11 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist. The Eagles also out rebounded the Tigers 49-32.
The Tigers look to get back in the winning column on Thursday, as Coastal Carolina visits Auburn Arena. Tip-off on the SEC Network is set for 8 p.m. CST.
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