Auburn 77, Boston College 67: Auburn surges past Eagles behind KT Harrell

Associated PressDecember 22, 2013 

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's KT Harrell said he wanted to be aggressive with his shot selection from the start of the Tigers' game against visiting Boston College.

The transfer from Virginia and native of nearby Montgomery did just that, drilling a pair of 3-pointers in the opening two minutes of what would be a career-best performance.

Harrell hit 5 of his first 6 attempts from beyond the arc and scored 29 points to lead Auburn to a 77-67 victory over Boston College on Sunday.

"KT was big," Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. "I have been waiting for the breakout . I have been on him to keep going and keep pushing and keep fighting. Tonight, he was aggressive."

Auburn (6-3) hit 10 of its first 18 attempts from beyond the arc in the victory, with Harrell netting six of the Tigers' 3-pointers. Senior guard Chris Denson, who ranks No. 2 in the SEC in points per game, added 15 for the Tigers.

The two teams traded the lead several times in the first half, but Auburn headed into halftime with a 13-point lead on Boston College (4-8) thanks to a late 14-2 run. The Tigers then scored seven unanswered points to open the second half.

"It all starts with defense," Harrell said. "I think we know our identity now, and we try to bring it every night, every time we play."

Boston College chipped away at the large Auburn advantage throughout the second half, cutting it to an eight-point lead with four minutes to play. But the Tigers, who lead the SEC in free throw percentage, hit 9 of its final 10 attempts from the line to hold off the late charge from the Eagles.

Auburn freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen scored 14 points, including an acrobatic layup as the shot clock expired to give the Tigers a 10-point lead with two minutes left to play. Shamsid-Deen also went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc in the victory.

Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan scored 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting for Boston College. The only other Eagle to score in double figures was forward Ryan Anderson, who had 11 points.

"I think we played well in the second half, but obviously, we started slow," Hanlan said. "In college basketball, when you play any team, you just can't expect to have a big second half and be able to come back when you are down 20 points at halftime."

The Eagles' season record in road games went to 0-4 with the loss, which was Boston College's first visit to Auburn in school history. Boston College defeated Auburn 50-49 in last season's meeting in Chestnut Hill.

Sunday's victory gave the Tigers back-to-back wins against ACC opponents. Auburn edged Clemson 66-64 last Thursday night.

"We've let a couple (games) go, so it's good to get two teams that people know about and get the win against those teams," Shamsid-Deen said. "We're trying to have a new culture here. We always expect to win, but we're going to put that into other people's minds as well."

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