Tigers Taking on Rattlers In SEC Tune-Up

Coach Tony Barbee's basketball Tigers will play host to Florida A&M on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers will try to extend their winning streak to four games as they take on the Rattlers of Florida A&M on Saturday night at Auburn Arena.

Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m. CST and Coach Tony Barbee said he is seeing signs of progress from his 7-3 basketball team. The contest is the final one of the season that will not be aired on a television broadcast network.

"I think we have gotten better over this break, and that's typically what happens with every team, and it's good to see my team progressing that way," said Barbee, who has been able to put his team through extra practices with the players on a lengthy break from classes.

"I think we still have a lot of room for improvement, but that is what these games are designed to do," the coach said of Auburn's non-conference schedule.

"We are starting to play with some purpose and we are starting to play with the energy and emotion and passion on the floor and that's what this game is supposed to be about," Barbee said. "We are finally getting what that looks like and it is transforming itself into better effort and better scoring. A lot of good things come from when you are excited to play this game."

The Tigers are coming off a 91-59 victory in their first game since taking a layoff for the Christmas holiday. Prior to defeating the Golden Lions the Tigers edged Clemson 66-64 and defeated Boston College 77-67.

Florida A&M, which lost at home 93-88 on Thursday night to Florida International, is 4-10 this season.

Tajh Shamsid-Deen is shown in action for the Tigers.

In their last outing the Tigers made 65 percent of their field goals. Not was that a season high for the Tigers, it is the highest field goal percentage for an Auburn team with Barbee as the coach.

One of the bright spots for the Tigers in recent games has been improved play from the point guards, particularly Tajh Shamsid-Deen, who dished out eight assists without a turnover vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

"He is getting more and more comfortable," Barbee said. "He is a true freshman and he is doing a heck of a job running the team. Every game, every practice you see him getting more and more comfortable, and as he gets more comfortable you see his full potential coming out even though he still has a lot of room to grow."

Shamisid-Deen is averaging 9.2 points per contest and is fifth in the SEC with 3.4 assists per contest.

Junior guard K.T. Harrell is number two in the SEC in scoring at 19.1 points per game. The transfer from the University of Virginia has scored in double figures in each of Auburn's game this season.

Senior guard Chris Denson is just behind at 19.0 points per contest. Denson, who is making 50 percent of his field goals, has led the Tigers in scoring six times this season.

Following Saturday's game the Tigers will return to action on Thursday at Ole Miss to open SEC play. The first SEC home game will be the following Saturday as the Missouri Tigers visit Auburn Arena.


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