Auburn Basketball Game 5 Preview/Notes

The Auburn basketball Tigers will take on a new opponent, the Oregon State Beavers, in their final game in Las Vegas.

Cinemon Bowers (above) has been a rebounding force for the Tigers.

Las Vegas, Nev.--The Auburn basketball team will look to bounce back from a poor shooting game as it takes on the Oregon State Beavers on Wednesday night in the consolation contest at the MGM Grand Main Event tournament.

The Tigers, who are 2-2, scored just 14 points in the second half on Monday night as they dropped a 53-35 decision vs. Tulsa. In that game Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers hit just 31.3 percent of their field goals and 2-22 three-pointers.

Oregon State dropped a 66-53 game to Oklahoma State in the other semi-final on Monday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Prior to that the Beavers won games vs. Rice (67-54), Corban (86-62) and Oral Roberts (55-42).

Langston Morris-Walker, a 6-5, 216 junior forward, leads Oregon State in scoring with 12 points per game and is second in rebounding with 6.3 per contest.

Gary Payton II, a 6-3, 175 junior guard, is the team’s other double figures scorer with 10.5 points per game and the top rebounder at 6.8 per contest. The juco transfer is the son of OSU’s all-time leading scorer.

Oregon State will have a significant height advantage with seven-foot sophomore Cheikh N’diaye (4.0 points, 3.8 rebounds) in the starting lineup along with 6-10 junior Olaf Schaftenaar (8.8 points, 3.5 rebounds). The other starter, 6-2 sophomore guard Malcom Duvivier, is averaging 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

More height comes from 6-7 forward Victor Robbins, who is averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. Daniel Gomis, a 6-10 junior, averages 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds.

Oregon State has relied on its defense this season, limiting opponents to 34.8 percent shooting.

The Beavers, who finished 16-16 last year, return seven lettermen and one starter from that team. They are the first opponent the Tigers have faced this season that was not in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

“We have got to regroup,” said Pearl, who noted the Tigers couldn’t overcome the combination of early foul trouble and poor shooting vs. Tulsa.

Bruce Pearl has never coached a game vs. Oregon State.

“I told our guys we are going to be home for Thanksgiving for a couple of days and we are going to feel a lot better about our basketball team if we can play better on Wednesday night,” Pearl added.

Tigers vs. Beavers: Auburn has never played Oregon State in basketball. The Tigers are 3-6 all-time in games vs. Pac-12 conference members including a loss at Colorado this season. The Beavers have a 9-17 mark against SEC teams.

No TV: The game will not be carried on television, but can be seen on-line at ESPN3.

Tinkle Time: The Beavers are led by a new head coach, Wayne Tinkle, who led the University of Montana to three NCAA Tournament bids. His overall coaching record is 161-92.

Bowers Ball: Cinmeon Bowers, who has posted double-doubles in each of Auburn’s four games, leads the SEC in rebounding at 14.3 per contest and is fifth in scoring with 16.5 points per game.

Injury Report: Guard Antoine Mason, who scored 19 points in the opener, has not played since then with an ankle injury. The transfer from Niagara University is listed as “questionable” for Wednesday’s game.

Up Next: The Tigers will return to action on Dec. 3rd in Lubbock, Tex., where they will take on the Red Raiders of Texas Tech in the SEC/Big XII Challenge. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CST and coverage is on the SEC Network.

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