Tigers Look to Even SEC Record at LSU

The Auburn men's basketball team travels to Baton Rouge, La., to try to even its conference record against the LSU Tigers.

Baton Rouge, La.--After squeaking past Ole Miss by one point in double overtime on Saturday, the Auburn men's basketball team travels to Baton Rouge on Tuesday to play for its second conference win.

Both Tigers squads come into the game 11–6 overall and 1–2 in SEC play, although Auburn has faced a much more difficult SEC slate to date having played the top two teams in the league, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

LSU's two SEC losses came on the road against Alabama and Arkansas with the Razorbacks declawing the Bengal Tigers 69–60 on Saturday.

Auburn and LSU have faced one common SEC opponent in Ole Miss with the Bengal Tigers notching a 81–55 win over the Rebel Black Bears in their SEC home opener.

Auburn has won three out of the last four games in Baton Rouge, including last year's 60–51 win in the regular season finale. LSU won the first matchup 62–55 at the Auburn Arena in last season's SEC opener.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee said he isn't taking the Bengal Tigers lightly, noting this year's LSU squad is much improved since last season.

"Their personnel is playing very well together," he said. "They have a couple of new additions to their team that are really playing well in Justin Hamilton and Anthony Hickey. Both of them are two different players who complement each other well.

"Hickey is a point who is quick and can score," added the head coach. "Hamilton is a seven-footer who is big and can score inside and out."

The seven-foot, 260-pound junior center enters the game averaging 18.3 points and 10 rebounds in the Tigers' three SEC games. His 22 point, 7.5 rebound, 3.0 block average the week of January 9th earned him SEC player of the week honors.

Hickey is averaging 9.1 points, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals per game, tops in the SEC for takeaways.

Another player to keep an eye on is shooting guard Andre Stringer. The 5-9, 178 sophomore paces the LSU backcourt with 11.4 points per game.

Auburn will count on junior Frankie Sullivan to continue breaking out of a six-game slump where he averaged only 5.7 points per game and shot only 25.6 percent from the field. In the second half against Ole Miss on Saturday, Sullivan scored all of his team-high 19 points, shooting 6-9 from the floor and 2-5 from three-point range.

"This is what we have been looking for," Barbee said of Sullivan's second-half performance. "Hopefully, he is getting closer because we have a lot of guys who have been struggling. There is no one on this team who has been working harder to get out of that than Frankie."

The game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. CST Tuesday at LSU's Maravich Assembly Center and will be televised on ESPNU.

News and Notes:

*With a record of 11–6 Auburn has already equalled last year's victory total. The Tigers finished last season 11–20 with their last win coming against LSU in the regular season finale.

*Auburn currently ranks 14th nationally and fourth in the SEC with 5.8 blocks per game. With two more blocks the Tigers will equal the 100 blocks the Tigers had all of last season.

Rob Chubb

*Center Rob Chubb has reversed his fortunes at the charity stripe this season, shooting a team-high 83.3 percent from the foul line after averaging 49.3 percent last year.

*Sullivan, a redshirt junior, is 104 points away from becoming the 33rd member of Auburn's 1,000-point club.

*LSU leads the all-time series with Auburn 81-62, but Auburn has won four of the last five matchups.


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