Tigers Playing Host to 21st Ranked Mizzou

Missouri will make its first-ever appearance at Auburn Arena for a basketball game.

Auburn, Ala.--Tony Barbee's Tigers have to deal with a quick turnaround and an upset nationally-ranked opponent for their SEC home opener on Saturday.

After losing 65-62 on Thursday night at Ole Miss the Tigers will try to rebound vs. Missouri. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at Auburn Arena for a contest being televised on ESPNU. That setback ended a four-game winning streak for the Tigers, who dropped to 8-4 for the season.

Missouri saw a streak end, too, in its last game. Coach Frank Haith's squad was upset 70-64 in overtime by Georgia, snapping the nation's longest homecourt winning streak at 26 games.

Saturday's game will be Missouri's first appearance ever for a basketball game on the Auburn campus. Mizzou moved to the SEC last season after a long association with the Big 12 Conference.

Guard Jabari Brown scored 19 points vs. the Bulldogs and has been a consistent threat for Missouri. He has finished in double figures scoring in every game for the 21st-ranked team, which has a 12-2 record. The 6-4 guard is averaging 18.4 points and 5.1 rebounds.

Missouri's leading scorer, 6-5 guard Jordan Clarkson, has also scored in double figures every game. He is averaging 18.8 points per contest.

Former Auburn player Earnest Ross, a 6-5 guard, is averaging 14.1 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Chris Denson took over the SEC lead in scoring with 28 points vs. Ole Miss, moving past teammate K.T. Harrell. Denson is averaging 19.8 points per contest while Harrell is at 18.7.

Despite the loss Barbee said he believes his team is improving. "We have gotten better," he said. "Winning those four in a row was big for our confidence."

Commenting on Missouri, Auburn's coach said, "They are a talented team. They have three really good guards and their bigs do a good job of playing off those guys and they do a good job of keeping their bigs involved in the offense and helping make the game easy on them. It will be a difficult task. They are the 21st-ranked team in the country for a reason."

Winning at home is a primary goal for his Auburn team, Barbee noted. "That is our number one focus in conference play," he said. "Then you have to find a way because games in conference play are so hard."

Commenting on missing an opportunity to win on Thursday night at Ole Miss, he said, "We gave ourselves a chance even though we didn't pull it out. Then there was a couple of other things that we did that we could have done better that would have given us even more of an opportunity to finish that game."

The coach noted Auburn's defense was good enough to win down the stretch, said, "The offense wasn't as efficient as it needed to be."

The Tigers are looking for their first victory vs. a Top 25 opponent since defeating LSU in 2009.


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