Photo by Jason Caldwell

The Auburn Basketball Tigers Are Healthier For Their 2nd Exhibition Contest

Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl will have more options at the guard positions when the Tigers play on Thursday night.

Bruce Pearl (above) is in his second season as Auburn's head coach.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn prepares for its second and final exhibition basketball game scheduled for Thursday night vs. the University of Indianapolis, Coach Bruce Pearl said his Tigers could have two additional players available for action.

In the opener guard T.J. Lang was held out with a knee sprain and freshman Bryce Brown was sidelined with a back problem. Both are practicing this week and are expected to see action vs. the Greyhounds.

Lang was scheduled to be a starter based on his performance in preseason before hurting his while turning to get into defensive position on a fastbreak. Brown was expected to see significant minutes off the bench. Both are considered three-point shooting threats.

“The back is sore,” Pearl said about Brown after Tuesday’s workout. “Today was his second day and he was able to make it through practice. We could have played him against Brevard, but we were being cautious. I think Bryce will play. He may not play as many minutes because of his health and because he has been out.”

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T.J. Lang broke into the starting lineup near the end of last season.

Commenting on Lang, a six-foot-seven sophomore, Pearl said, “He is a little ahead of schedule. If he can go full speed we will play him for a half.” Lang was moving well on Tuesday and stayed after practice for extra work on his shooting.

Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday as the Tigers take on Indianapolis. The regular season starts on Nov. 13th with a home game vs. UAB.

The Tigers defeated Brevard College 99-59 on Friday night as senior forward Cinmeon Bowers led the Tigers with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Kareem Canty, making his Auburn debut, and freshman guard New Williams each scored 16 points, senior forward Tyler Harris added 14 points and eight rebounds and junior guard T.J. Dunans chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds. The game was also the first at Auburn for Dunans and Harris.

Williams, who is six-foot-two out of Santa Monica, Calif., High, took advantage of his opportunity for extended playing time by hitting 4-6 three-pointers in 18 minutes of court time. Walk-on freshman guard Zach Allison from Pelham High had a big night, too, finishing with eight assists and just two turnovers while scoring six points in 24 minutes of action.

“New showed that he was a gamer,” Pearl said. “He showed that he wasn’t afraid. He has got confidence. The thing with New is to build the other aspects of his game. He can shoot, he can jump, he is an athlete.”

Photo by Jason Caldwell

New Williams takes a shot vs. Brevard College.

Allison, an invited walk-on who scored more than 1,000 points in high school, has been performing well in practice. Pearl predicted he would play well vs. Brevard and that happened.

“Indianapolis has a terrific point guard, a senior who is probably 22 or 23 years old, and our point guards will be challenged,” Pearl pointed out. “He is tough and Zach will have more of a challenge, but none of what Zach did (in the first exhibition game) surprised any one of us.”

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Zach Allison was impressive in his collegiate debut last Friday night.

Pearl said after watching video of the Brevard game the Tigers have been focused on improving their defensive play. “I?think it is good we got exposed in our ball screen defense because Indy is going to ball-screen us to death,” he said. “Brevard did some things with the ball screens that bothered us and when Indy sees that tape they are going to be smiling. We have got to get better in a hurry.”

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