Auburn Wins, But Barbee Irked By His Tigers

Josh Wallace

A report on Auburn's basketball exhibition victory over Georgia Southwestern is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--After scoring 108 points in their first exhibition game, Coach Tony Barbee's Tigers had a sluggish start before pulling away for a 66-50 basketball victory over Georgia Southwestern State on Monday night.

The coach said he was so upset with his team's lack of intensity at one point he told his assistant coaches that he didn't care if his team won the exhibition game vs. the Division II team out of the Peach Belt Conference.

"I said to the staff the whole game I was glad this wasn't a 50-point blowout," Barbee said. "That wouldn't have done us any good. I was over on the bench saying I hope we lose this and we can learn from it and my staff is saying, ‘You're crazy.'

"It is always better to learn from a close win than a tough loss, but we definitely needed this one so I could get some of these guys' attention," Barbee said.

The talent gulf was too wide for the upset to happen as Auburn outscored the Hurricanes 34-21 in the second half in their final tune-up before Friday night's regular season opener.

"We started slow again and every night out we want to make the other team match our intensity and how hard we play," Barbee said. "That wasn't the case for the second straight game.

"We started better against Victory (University), but tonight against a little bit higher level opponent those guys were working at about 1,000 miles per hour and we were going at about 200. It has got to be the other way around.

"Those are all things that are correctable," Barbee added. "Once we got into our pace of how hard we play, we made some things tough on them.

"We probably spent two days on our zone," Barbee pointed out. "For not really working on it, or spending a whole lot of time on it, I thought our zone (defense) looked good," he said. "That is kind of what got them stymied because man-to-man we couldn't guard them. They were tough to guard off the bounce, especially the little kid (Jamon Dawkins). He was pretty good."

Noel Johnson led the Tigers with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He hit 4-7 field goals and 2-4 treys in 27 minutes of action as a starter.

Johnson, who missed a good portion of last season with a wrist injury and was never 100 percent in 2011-2012, said, "A big part of my game is rebounding, and scoring, too. I am just trying to show my full game this whole season."

The senior guard/forward noted that Barbee told him after the game to keep it up. "He just told me in front of the whole team if you rebound like that every night you will get a lot more minutes so that is what I am going to do."

Asauhn Dixon-Tatum shoots a hook shot vs. the Hurricanes.

Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, playing in relief of Rob Chubb who struggled as he scored just two points and did not have a rebound, led the Tigers in scoring with 11 points. He added four rebounds and four blocked shots. He made 4-8 field goals.

Dixon-Tatum, a juco transfer, said he has been working hard on developing his offensive skills during the offseason. "I am getting more rounded. I am putting a lot of hours in working with the coaches. Especially in practice, going against Chubb, that is pretty tough."

Forwards Michael Tankersley and Matt Shaw led Georgia Southwestern with 10 points apiece.

The Numbers:Auburn shot 42.9 percent from the field and was 7-16 on threes and 11-17 at the foul line. The Tigers out-rebounded Georgia Southwestern 37-31 and had a dozen turnovers, six less than the visitors.

The Hurricanes shot 40.9 percent from the field. They were 2-11 on threes and 12-25 at the foul line.

Eleven Scorers: Although only Dixon-Tatum and Noel Johnson reached double figures, nine other players scored for the Tigers. The best of the rest was Frankie Sullivan with nine, Josh Wallace with eight and Allen Payne with seven.

Wallace, who was flagrantly fouled on a breakaway in the second half, hung tough and finished the night with five assists, four steals and no turnovers.

Freshmen: The four freshmen didn't have a big scoring night like they did vs. Victory, but contributed. Jordan Price scored seven, Shaquille Johnson and Jordon Granger added four points apiece and Brian  Greene Jr. chipped in with two points. Shaq Johnson's points came on a pair of dunks.

Jordon Granger goes up for a stuff and two points for the Tigers.

Regular Season Almost Here: The Tigers begin the regular season with a home game on Friday vs. IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne) from the Summit League. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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