Late non-call helps Auburn withstand upset vs. College of Charleston

SAN DIEGO -- With about six seconds left in College of Charleston's 62-58 loss to Auburn on Friday, Cougars guard Grant Riller pulled up from 3-point range in an attempt to tie the game, but the shot fell well short, ending any realistic hope for an upset.

It was difficult to see live, but replay appeared to show Auburn defender Bryce Brown making contact with Riller's shooting elbow.

Despite the key non-call, Riller did his best to downplay the notion it affected the outcome of the game.

"About 13 seconds left when I got the ball, kind of wanted to come down and create space and hit a shot," Riller said. "I think I got touched, but it's not my job to worry about foul calls or not, so pretty good defense by him, too."

Charleston coach Earl Grant hadn't seen a replay of the play when asked about it after the game and only offered praise for the officiating crew.

"We had a big-time crew of referees. Those guys do big-time games," Grant said. "At the end of the day, Auburn played good defense tonight. We tried to contest shots hard, and I think they tried to contest shots hard. So I don't know what happened. I just know we had the right guy with the ball in his hands. Came up a little bit short."

Charleston was attempting to become the third No. 13 seed of the NCAA tournament to win in the opening round. No more than two No. 13 seeds have ever won in the same year.

Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said his team was under instructions to foul with about three or four seconds left in that situation -- up three points -- but Riller took the potential tying shot before then.

"Bryce challenged the shot. I haven't seen it on film, but Bryce, a pretty good defender, I thought he was pretty vertical," Pearl said. "And College of Charleston, they kick their legs out on 3s. They draw fouls on 3-point shooting, and I thought our guys did a good job of staying away from that."

Still, if a foul would have been called, Riller, a 73.6 percent free throw shooter, would have needed to knock down all three free throws to give his team a chance. He was 2-for-4 in the game as the teams combined to make just 22-of-46, with Charleston 7-of-14.