Barbee's Team Plays Exhibition Game On Monday

Victory University will be at the Auburn Arena on Monday night for an exhibition basketball game vs. Coach Tony Barbee's Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tony Barbee's Auburn basketball team will take the court on Monday night for the first of a pair of homecourt exhibition basketball games.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CDT at Auburn Arena as the Tigers take on Victory University. It will actually be the third game for the Tigers, who won a pair of summer exhibition contests in The Bahamas.

"I want to see some progress on what we have been working on," Barbee told Inside the Auburn Tigers of his goal for Monday night's contest.

"Obviously, for the first exhibition game you are not going to be in midseason form, but we have had a little bit of a head start coming off our Bahamas trip so we are ahead of where we would usually be," Barbee said.

Barbee watches the action at a preseason practice.

"I think we should kind of be ahead of a lot of other teams in the country so I just want to see where we are against some other competition," the coach added. "I know that our guys are getting tired of playing against themselves."

Victory University comes into the game with a 2-0 record with wins over Champion Baptist (96-77) and Robert Morris-Springfield (86-67).

Following a full-game scrimmage on Saturday the Tigers go into Monday's game a healthy team with one exception. Matthew Attewe, a 6-10, freshman center, did not participate in the scrimmage. He has a little leg problem," Barbee said. "I don't know if he will be able to play on Monday, but he will be ready for the first game."

The Tigers open the regular season with a home game on Nov. 8th vs. Nichols State.

Seven-foot freshman Benas Griciunas goes to the basket for a dunk in a drill at Saturday's practice.

Barbee's theme for the 2013-14 team has been playing together. "Every man on this team is going to play an important role and they have got to play to the best of their ability," the coach said on what he wants to see from his fourth AU squad. "Playing together is what this team is group is about this year. They are about the whole rather than the individual competition."

Senior center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, who was one of the standouts in the Saturday scrimmage with 18 points and 10 rebounds, said he enjoyed the final tune-up before Monday's game. "It was fun to be out there with the team," he said. "I feel like everybody competed and everybody got better."

Asked what the Tigers' goal will be when playing Victory University, Dixon-Tatum said, "Of course, we want to play well, but we also want to work on the things Coach wants us to do. We are always ready to play somebody else. We are looking forward to it."

Dixon-Tatum makes a move in the slam dunk contest during the team's Jungle Jam event.

Senior guard Chris Denson, who scored 18 points with the first team in the scrimmage playing with Dixon-Tatum, Tajh Shamsid-Deen, Allen Payne and K.T. Harrell, agreed with Dixon-Tatum about the intrasquad scrimmage being a productive one.

Asked what the team's focus will be for the exhibition game, Denson said, "The game on Monday night isn't about Victory University. It is about getting better for later on in the season. We are looking to get ready for the Kentuckys, Vanderbilts and Tennessees we will be playing."

Commenting on Auburn's preseason, the senior guard said, "The main progress we have made is our chemistry. The Bahamas trip helped us out and us being around each other every day has helped with it."

Denson said he believes the Tigers will open the season with more players ready to contribute than on his previous teams at Auburn. "We have big men and depth at every position," the senior guard said.

For Saturday's scrimmage the Orange team (second unit) featured a strong performance from juco transfer Chris Griffin, who showed his good touch from three-point range in a game the Blue team won 59-50. Griffin made five treys while scoring 19 points.

Joining him on the orange team were point guard Malcolm Canada, center Benas Griciunas forward Jordon Granger and Dion Wade.

Dion Wade is shown at an Auburn practice.

Canada, a junior college transfer at point guard, traded places with Shamsid-Deen and moved to the Blue squad for the second half.

Denson, who is the leading returning scorer from last year's team, was also the top scorer on the trip to The Bahamas, averaging 21.5 points in those two games.

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