Auburn coach Jeff Lebo passd around plenty of compliments after Arkansas destroyed the Tigers, 95-59, in Bud Walton Arena. Ronnie Brewer and the UA arena/crowd were his favorites.
Lebo called Brewer "a pro player," and noted the Arkansas guard impresses him as a "complete player."
Brewer tied a career high with 23 points. He made 7 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 3 on 3-point shots. He also canned 7 of 8 from the fould line and added 7 rebounds with 4 assists.
"He guards you, he lets the game come to him on offense and he does a little of everything," Lebo said. "He's a tough matchup because of those long arms. He's very long, like a 6-9 guy. I really like him."
That wasn't the only thing he liked in enemy territory. Lebo said nothing has changed with the Hogs' home arena since his days as an assistant at South Carolina. Attendance was a season high 19,162 Saturday.
"This is as good as it gets," Lebo said. "It's a great arena and the crowd is very good. They put on a show here with all they do. It was great when Nolan (Richardson) coached here and it don't see it as any different. I think the fans will always be good here.
"It's a great arena. I hate to say this because I'm a North Carolina guy, but it might be better than (Dean Smith Center). When Nolan was coaching here, I remember coming in here it was like you played against eight. And, Stan is about to get it going here now."
Lebo also was impressed with the defense UA guard Eric Ferguson slapped on Auburn guard Toney Douglas, the SEC's top scorer in league games only with a 23-point average. Douglas scored 8 points, but most came after the runaway was secure and Ferguson was on the bench.
"Ferguson is strong," Lebo said. "He had a good defender on him. Welcome to the SEC. He stayed down and in front of Toney and made it difficult. He bumped Tony around and you are going to get that in this league. You aren't going to get that called in this league."
Douglas didn't see it as great defense, just an off day.
"No one is going to have it every game," he said. "Ferguson is a good defensive player. But I just struggled today. I had some open looks and I wasn't on today. What killed us today was defense. We couldn't stop them. It didn't help that I wasn't hitting. But we weren't doing anything on defense."
UA assistant Orande Talifarro said, "Eric made him earn everything today and didn't give Douglas any cheap points. He isn't a great shooter, more of a crafty player who gets you in the air and gets to the line. He'll get some backdoor cuts, too, and Eric cut that off today."
Ferguson looked at it as just another day at the office.
"You try to play good defense every game," Ferguson said. "I didn't try to do anything different today. I just tried to play a solid game on defense. Coach told me to guard him and I played solid on him. He did, like he said, have a couple of good looks early, but he didn't make them. I just tried to play hard and solid and not make mistakes. But it wasn't just me. We played good team defense today.
"He's a good player, Douglas. But you see good players every day in this league. We just wanted to play solid defense and get our second straight SEC win."
Yes, some of the Hogs still figure they won their previous game, an overtime loss at LSU, in regulation.
"That is still in my mind," Ferguson said. "Something was taken from us and we won't forget it."
Stan Heath, the UA head coach, said he didn't want the Hogs to focus on the LSU controversy, but knew it was going to happen no matter what he said.
"You just hope they turned a negative into positive energy," Heath said. "It's easy to say, 'Forget it and move on.' That's not reality. It hurt them in the heart and it hurt me in the heart. I would think they were more than a little hacked off. I think they used it the right way."
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