Barbee Expects More in Exhibition Two

The Columbus State Cougars will visit Auburn on Monday night for an exhibition basketball game vs. Tony Barbee's Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Tony Barbee says his first Auburn basketball team has a long way to go and a short time to get there.

The Tigers will open the regular season on Friday night vs. UNC-Asheville, but next on the agenda is the second preseason exhibition game set for 7 p.m. on Monday as Columbus State makes the short trip across the Chattahoochee River to the new Auburn Arena.

The two teams haven't met in basketball since 1984 when the Tigers overpowered the Cougars 91-56 a year after winning a squeaker, 58-54, vs. the school that was then known as Columbus College.

Auburn defeated West Alabama 79-66 on Wednesday night. After studying video of the exhibition game, Barbee was less than impressed.

"What I saw was that we have a long way to go," he says. "I thought we played hard in spots when we were fresh when we just got into the game, but typically when you get tired is when you lose concentration. You lose your defensive positioning. You lose your awareness. You lose your anticipation about what is happening around you, and then you make mistakes, and that is what we did.

"When we were fresh and the game was new and we just got in, we were good," Barbee says. "As the game went going back and forth, we got tired. We broke down defensively, and we gave up too many offensive rebounds, obviously, and we gave up too many easy baskets.

"We have to clean all of those things up in practice, and that is what we have been working on," the coach adds.

Barbee is expected to go with 6-8 junior forward Kenny Gabriel in the starting lineup with 6-6 freshman forward Allen Payne and 6-10 sophomore center Rob Chubb along with 6-5 sophomore guard Earnest Ross plus 5-8 sophomore point guard Josh Wallace.

Josh Wallace drives vs. West Alabama.

In the first exhibition game vs. West Alabama, Gabriel led the Tigers in scoring with 15 points and was also the leader on the boards with 16 rebounds. Wallace scored 10 points and dished out nine assists.

Ross scored 10 points in the opener as did Chubb, who added eight rebounds. Andre Malone added 13 points and six rebounds.

Highly-regarded freshman Josh Langford, a 6-6 guard from Huntsville, is expected to make his Auburn debut on Monday night after missing the West Alabama game with a bruised sternum.

Commenting on what he wants to see vs. Columbus State, Barbee says, "We have to be more consistent with our intensity and our effort. That is not negotiable, and then we have to clean up our offensive execution. I thought we did some good things, but at times we got lazy.

"We got too many passes deflected," he says. "We got too many of our dribble handoffs deflected. We had 14 turnovers, which is way too many against a team that didn't press us one single time so we have to work on a lot of different things. For the first go around it was okay."

Columbus State returns three starters from a team that finished 12-14 overall playing in the Division II Peach Belt Conference where it posted a 6-11 record.

Lamar Williams, a 6-2 guard, is the leading returning scorer with a 12.7 points per game average. Donta Riley, a 6-3 junior guard, averaged 10.6 points per game last season The top returning rebounder is seven-foot junior Jeremy Grimball, who averaged 4.5 points and 4.6 rebounds last season.

The college from Columbus, Ga., will have a new look for 2010-2011 with 11 newcomers on the roster. This will also be the first game for the Cougars under their first-year head coach Robert Moore, a former assistant to the school's winningest coach, Herb Greene, who was a former standout guard at Auburn.

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