Ward Pleased With Basketball Scrimmage

Comments from Varez Ward, Chris Denson and Tony Barbee are featured as the Tigers prepared for Tuesday's exhibition game with a Saturday scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tony Barbee called his team's Saturday intrasquad game a "decent scrimmage," quickly adding the Tigers have "a long way to go.

"It was a little sloppy at points, a few too many turnovers," Auburn's second year basketball coach said.

"I like the way some of our veterans are playing and Chubb (junior center Rob Chubb) is definitely playing stronger rebounding the ball, and scoring he is demanding that ball on the post, which is what we need to do for this team.

"I like the way both Varez (sophomore point guard Varez Ward) and Josh (junior point guard Josh Wallace) are running their teams," Barbee said. "They are going to give us a good one-two pop at the point guard spot.

"We have got to get some of the other guys playing better," Barbee said. "Like I told these other guys, it is a good thing we don't have a game tomorrow."

Ward, a transfer from the University of Texas, said he saw some good things in the scrimmage. He led all scorers with 18 points.

"I think we played pretty well," Ward said. "We need to eliminate turnovers and we can rebound the ball better. My team won the scrimmage so at the end of the day that is the important thing to me."

The Tigers will open the regular season on Nov. 11th vs. McNeese State, but before that they have two exhibition games. The first is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday night at the Auburn Arena vs. Paine College.

The Blue team featuring Ward, Chubb, Kenny Gabriel (12 points, nine rebounds) Frankie Sullivan (14 points, 3-7 teys) and Allan Payne (10 points), won the scrimmage 65-60. Barbee said he set up the sides to try to produce a competitive game and he succeeded on that front.

"The starters are not established," he said. "Everything is up for grabs."

Freshman forward Bernard Morena, who has been sidelined by an ankle sprain since the start of preseason drills, is expected to return to practice in the next several days. Guard Noel Johnson, who has a cracked bone in his arm, is expected back in practice in a couple of weeks. He is expected to get his cast off in about a week, Barbee said.

"Fortunately, the injury wasn't a significant one," Barbee said. "We can be patient with him because he doesn't become eligible until the early part of December. Noel will be back for the South Florida game."

Sophomore guard Chris Denson, who said he has been working on his shooting throughout the offseason, said he believes he has made progress and so have the Tigers. He was the second leading scorer in the scrimmage iwth 16 points.

"Hopefully, my shooting is going to help the team out this year," said Denson, who has added 11 pounds of muscle since last season. He said he currently weighs 179 and is trying to get bigger.

"The team is coming along good," Denson said. "We have a bunch of new players and we are happy with the new guys. We are going to be good this year."

Wallace, a junior walk-on, scored 13 points as he hit 6-9 field goals.

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