Barbee's Team Hopes to Sprint Past the Racers

Auburn opens play on Thursday night vs. Murray State in the eight-team Charleston Classic.

Auburn, Ala.--With a week between games to try to make improvements, Coach Tony Barbee's Auburn basketball Tigers will play three times in four days at the Charleston Classic, starting with a Thursday night contest vs. Murray State.

The Racers, led by preseason All-American senior guard Isaiah Canaan, are coming off the best season in school history. Murray State posted a 31-2 record in 2011-2012 before falling to Marquette in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Charleston Classic in South Carolina features an eight-team field. Auburn's round two opponent on Friday will be either St. John's or the host, College of Charleston. The other four teams in the field are Baylor, Colorado, Dayton and Boston College.

"We are excited about the opportunity to play in one of these multi-team events," Barbee said. "This is a fantastic one. They had a great field last year and they have an even better field this year.

"Obviously, we start with one of the better teams in the country," the third-year Auburn coach said. "Murray State came off a fantastic year and they have got an electrifying player in the Canaan kid. It is going to be a difficult challenge the entire tournament, but it is where we want to be. We want to take on the best.

"We want to see where we measure up and, at the same time, anytime we get a chance to play an in-season tournament we want to take advantage of it because I think it prepares you for postseason play whether it is the conference tournament or any postseason after that."

Auburn opened the 2012-13 regular season last Friday night with a 61-50 victory over IPFW. That same evening Murray State opened its season with an 88-43 win over Rescia, a non-NCAA team that plays NAIA competition.

Stacy Wilson, a 6-1 guard who is one of four seniors in the Murray State starting lineup, led the Racers vs. Brescia with 21 points while 6-7 forward Ed Daniel scored 15 points while adding nine rebounds.

Senior guard Frankie Sullivan scored 26 for the Tigers in the opener while senior center Rob Chubb led Auburn on the boards with 15 rebounds while scoring 10 points.

Rob Chubb scores vs. IPFW.

Barbee was hoping to get more production from his six newcomers in the opener, players who had been effective in the two exhibition victories. However, the group combined for just four points and four rebounds in the regular season opener.

Auburn's coach has challenged his newcomers to get ready to play a major role this season and said, "Practices have been spirited. The guys have competed against each other.

"The best thing about this team this year is that there is depth and there is nothing that is guaranteed so they feel they have to compete on a daily basis."

Tipoff for the Tigers vs. Murray State is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST and the game will be available for viewing on ESPN3.


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