Tigers Looking for Home Victory Vs. Vandy

The Auburn basketball Tigers will take on Vandy in a Saturday evening contest at Auburn Arena.

Auburn, Ala.--Rebounding could be one of the keys to success when Auburn plays host to Vanderbilt on Saturday evening.

That is the assessment of Coach Tony Barbee, whose Tigers will take on the Commodores in an SEC contest scheduled to tip off at 5 p.m. at Auburn Arena. TV coverage will be on Fox Sports Net.

Vandy, which brings a 14-11 overall record and a 6-7 SEC mark into the contest, features a tall front line led by six-foot-nine small forward Rod Odom, who is averaging 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Damian Jones, a 6-10 freshman center, is scoring 11.5 points per contest and pulling in 5.8 rebounds per contest.

James Siakam, a 6-7 junior forward, is averaging 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds.

More height comes from seven-foot freshman forward Luke Kornet, who averaging 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in a reserve role.

The top scorer at guard is 6-1 senior Kyle Fuller, who is averaging 11.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest. Dai-Jon Parker, a 6-3 junior guard, is averaging 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds.

"Any team with size across the front line has given us trouble," said Barbee, whose Tigers were out-rebounded 36-22 in a 71-66 loss at No. 2 ranked Florida on Wednesday night.

"Rebounding is something we have to do well in this game," the coach said. "We have to limit them to one shot. They shoot a lot of three-pointers and they depend on that three-point line so we have got to defend the three-point line well and we have to rebound that first shot."

Vandy comes into the game following a 67-64 loss at Missouri on Wednesday for the first and only matchup of the Tigers vs. the Commodores this season unless they play each other the SEC Tournament.

"You look at Kentucky, you look at (Florida) and Vandy poses those same problems," Barbee said. "At small forward they are starting the Odom kid, who started for them at power forward last year at 6-9, 230 pounds."

Freshman Matthew Atewe has been a key rebounder for Auburn.

Auburn comes into the contest with a 12-12 overall record and the Tigers are 4-9 in the SEC.

"Their starting five is as good as any of the top four or five (teams) in this league," Barbee said of Vandy, a team that is down to seven scholarship players on the roster. "They have got great size and they have one of the better freshmen in this league in the Jones kid, who will be the NBA one day."

Auburn's coach said he doesn't believe his team will be down emotionally after nearly upsetting Florida in its last outing and letting the Gators pull away for the win in the final seconds with help from miscues by the Tigers.

"I think we are going to have a great crowd our guys are going to feed off of," Barbee said. "The crowd has responded from the effort and the energy this team is putting forth.

"It (a letdown) could be a possibility," the coach added. "Vandy is challenge. They are ahead of us in the standings. They are team that is playing very well. They don't have a lot of depth, but it is a team that has got some talent."

The Tigers are 11-4 in games at Auburn Arena this season and 3-3 in SEC home games.

Senior forward Chris Denson leads the Tigers in scoring at 20.6 points per contest. Junior guard K.T. Harrell is next at 19.0 per outing while freshman guard Tajh Shamsid-Deen, who scored 17 points vs. Florida, has steadily been increasing his scoring average and is up to 9.7 points per game.

Commenting on his team's narrow loss to No. 2 Florida, Harrell said, "There are no moral victories, but we played extremely hard, we played with a lot of energy. If we do the same things that we did against Florida we'll win most of our games."


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