In the past two games, Auburn victories over Grambling and Furman, Price took six shots and made five in each contest while finishing a perfect 4-4 on three-pointers in both contests. For his performance the six-foot-five guard from Southwest DeKalb High in Decatur, Ga., was named SEC Freshman of the Week.
"It is a blessing to be able to come out and make shots and help my teammates win a game," says Price, who is averaging 7.2 points and 1.1 rebounds.
Tipoff for Tuesday's game vs. Tennessee Tech is 7 p.m. CST at the Auburn Arena and there is no TV coverage of the contest. Auburn leads the series 3-1 vs. Tennessee Tech, which comes into the contest with a 6-4 record following a 69-58 victory on Saturday vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee. That same night the Tigers defeated Furman 64-50.
Auburn has now won back-to-back games for the first time this season and will look to even its record at the expense of the Golden Eagles from the Ohio Valley Conference.
"We are picking up our intensity level and we are getting better on both the offensive and defensive ends," Price says of his team. "In some of the games we haven't executed like we should have at the end of those games and it cost us a chance to win.
"In practice we are focusing on the details and playing hard so we can win those close games," says the freshman, who adds, "It is the little things that count."
Barbee has challenged Price to improve his defensive play and rebounding and told the six-foot-five guard if he does that his playing time will increase.
"He is like a typical freshman," the coach says. "He is a guy who we talk about that he has always judged his value as a player or the impact that he can have on the game by the number of points that he scored. We try to break that habit quickly, and he is struggling with it in some ways. You are not always going to be an efficient offensive player every night out."
Asked about his defensive play, Price does notes his coach has a point. "I am still trying to get better on the defensive end," he admits. "My shot has gotten better from practicing and working out, but I am still trying to get better on the defensive end.
"In high school you might not be playing the best guys every night, but here in college you have to be able to guard your opponent in every game if you want to be successful," the freshman adds.
In addition to getting tips from the coaching staff, senior guard Frankie Sullivan has been giving Price advice, something the freshman notes that he appreciates. "I have a lot of respect for what Frankie says because he is a very experienced player and a great leader," Price says.
Tennessee Tech, which features a three-guard lineup with no starter taller than six-foot-seven, is led in scoring by 6-5 senior guard Jud Dillard, who is averaging 18.7 points and 7.5 rebounds.
"Tennessee Tech is a good team," Barbee says. "They played well at some tough places to play. They are very similar to the Furman team we played the other night in that they have guys who can shoot it from multiple positions so we are going to have to guard the three-point line very, very well.
"Unlike Furman, they have a guy in Dillard who is averaging 19 points a game and is capable of going off for 30," Barbee adds. "They have an individual talent who can take over a game so we are going to have to pay attention to him and make the game hard on him."
News and Notes: Auburn lost its last game vs. Tennessee Tech by a score of 72-70 in December of 1989...Sullivan is second in the SEC in scoring, one-tenth of a point behind Marshall Henderson of Ole Miss who is averaging 17.8 per contest...Forward Allen Payne has started eight of Auburn's nine games this year and is averaging 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds. After Monday's practice the junior lefthander told Inside the Auburn Tigers that he is seeing progress from the team as a whole. "The last two games we have gotten a lot better executing offensively," he said. "Defensively, we still have a long way to go as far as team defensive and our rotations. That happens when you have a team with a lot of freshmen. We are still developing. We still have a long way to go, but I like where we are headed."