By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
CHARLESTON, S.C. —
Frankie Sullivan hates looking at stitches. He hates letting his Auburn teammates down even more.
Sullivan, who needed 20 stitches in his right arm after crashing into the scorer’s table Thursday night, was back on the run for the Tigers on Friday night, scoring 20 of his 24 points in the second half in a 55-51 victory over the College of Charleston.
Sullivan hated leaving the court for medical treatment, particularly because Auburn was in the midst of being routed 79-59 against Murray State.
“I hate being embarrassed. It’s not a good feeling,” Sullivan said. “I felt like I left my teammates out on an island.”
Against College of Charleston, Sullivan was leading the way. He scored his team’s first 14 points of the second half to build a 40-32 lead, then helped them make it through a few tense moments at the end with a pair of free throws to stay in front.
Sullivan played with a black wrap over his right elbow and forearm and didn’t feel any affects. He admitted getting a little squeamish when he took the wrap off. “It’s not my first time with stitches, but I don’t like looking at my scars,” Sullivan said.
Auburn (2-1) will take on Dayton for fifth place in the eight-team tournament.
Tigers coach Tony Barbee wasn’t sure how his team would respond after the loss to Murray State. But he said his players were spirited in pre-game practice and that gave him some hope.
“I thought the guys really came in here and played with a purpose on both ends of the floor,” Barbee said.
College of Charleston (2-1) will try to avoid losing three straight on its home floor when it plays Boston College for seventh in the eight-team tournament.
Anthony Stitt had 11 points to lead the Cougars.
College of Charleston cut Auburn’s lead to three points three times in the final minute, but could not get closer. Shareif Adamu and Sullivan each made two foul shots and Noel Johnson one to keep Auburn out front.
Adamu and Johnson each had 11 points for the Tigers.
Adjehi Baru had 11 rebounds for College of Charleston.
First-year Cougars coach Doug Wojcik said his team is having trouble finding points to compete. “Don’t have enough guys scoring -- at some point that’s what you’ve got to be able to do,” he said.
Auburn was much sharper against College of Charleston than it was against Murray State. In that one, the Tigers trailed 27-10 in the game’s first 12 minutes and were eventually down by 36 points.
Against the Cougars, Auburn didn’t have a turnover the first 17 minutes. Still, the Tigers left for the locker room trailing 23-22.
College of Charleston was also looking for a positive performance after falling out of the winner’s bracket on its home court with a 64-53 loss to St. John’s.
The Cougars’ defense took control of things in the opening half, holding Auburn’s shooters to less than 26 percent shooting. It might’ve been worse if Johnson hadn’t hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the period.
Auburn moved in front 22-19 on Johnson’s final three of the half. But Trent Wiedeman followed with a dunk and Stitt made two foul shots to give the Cougars their halftime lead.