Basketball Tigers Play Host to Paine

The Auburn men's basketball team will play an exhibition game on Friday night vs. Paine College.

Auburn, Ala.--Tony Barbee's Auburn basketball Tigers will have their final tune-up before starting the regular season when they take on Paine College on Friday at 7 p.m. at Auburn Arena.

The Tigers are 3-0 in exhibition games with two victories on a summer trip to The Bahamas and a 109-67 win on Monday night vs. Victory University.

"I like what I saw," Barbee said of Auburn's performance on Monday night. "They came out for the game with great energy. I think we have gotten better in a lot of areas."

The coach said he was particularly pleased with his two new point guards, freshman Tajh Shamsid-Deen and Malcolm Canada, who combined for 25 points with 13 assists and one turnover. "I will take that every night,"?Barbee said of his point guards' statistics.

Barbee said the point guards will share playing time this year. "They are both going to help us win and our team knows that," he said.

"They are both very different. Tajh is a little waterbug. I like to call him Josh Wallace with a jump shot. He plays with that same level of heart that Josh did, he's just a better shooter."

Malcolm drives in an Auburn practice.

Canada is a late addition to the signee class out of Ellsworth Community College in Iowa where he averaged 20.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists as a sophomore. "He just knows how to play the game," Barbee said. "He is great at ball screens. He made some passes the other night and you wonder how did it (the ball) get there."

The coach said he also liked the production out of centers Asauhn Dixon-Tatum and Benas Griciunas. Dixon-Tatum, a senior, hit 6-7 shots on the way to scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds. Griciunas, a freshman, hit 7-8 field goals and scored 15 points while adding four rebounds.

"You will take 29 points, nine rebounds and three blocks out your five position every night and be very happy about it," Barbee said.

Auburn's other freshman center, Matthew Attewe, missed the opener as he recovers from a leg injury. Barbee said he hopes to have the Attewe back in action soon.

Friday's game will be the first exhibition game for Paine, a Division II?team from August, Ga., that plays in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Senior forward Jerel Stephenson is back for Paine after averaging 12.1 points and 7.6 rebounds last season. Senior guard Kenny Fluellen averaged 10.9 points last season.

"Paine College will be a higher level of competition with some Division I transfers," Barbee said. "They're going to do stuff to challenge us: They're going to press us, they're going to play some zones, some of the stuff Victory didn't do. It will help prepare us for the season."

"You will see more of our full-court defensive packages, some of our presses because we want to create a little more tempo this year, a little more scoring, and we'll do that out of our full-court defense," Barbee added.

Auburn will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8th with a home game vs. Nicholls State.

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