Kareem Canty (above) is shown in action vs. Kentucky.
Auburn, Ala.--Looking to even their SEC record at 3-3 and build momentum following a victory over Kentucky on Saturday, Coach Bruce Pearl’s Auburn basketball team will play host to Alabama with an 8 p.m. CST tip on Tuesday.
The Tigers are hoping their leading scorer, junior point guard Kareem Canty, can bounce back from an ankle injury suffered late in the game when he scored 26 points in Saturday’s 75-70 victory over Kentucky.
Canty, who is averaging 19.0 points and 5.6 assists per game, said the Tigers really needed the win vs. the Wildcats. “It was very important, especially for a team like us in our first year playing with each other. We were on a three-game losing streak so to win that game we’re on this high right now that we don’t want to get back to losing because we hate losing, especially me.
“I hate how losing feels,” said Canty, who had to wear a boot on Saturday and Sunday to protect his ankle, which he noted is still stiff. “We’ve just got to enjoy this high and remember what we did to win this game.”
Auburn is 8-8 overall coming into Tuesday’s game at Auburn Arena that will be televised on the SEC Network. Alabama is 10-6 overall and 1-3 in SEC games.
Tyler Harris, who scored 21 points while adding 11 rebounds vs. Kentucky, is Auburn's No. 2 scorer at 15.3 points per game and the No. 2 rebounder with 8.6 per contest. Cinmeon Bowers is averaging 11.0 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Tigers.
Tyler Harris is a graduate transfer student who made the move this season to AU from Providence.
Senior guard Retin Obasohan from Belgium leads the Tide in scoring at 13.7 points per game. Shannon Hale, a 6-8 junior guard, is averaging 10.5 points and 6-6 guard Arthur Edwards, a transfer from the University of New Mexico, is scoring 10.1 points per contest.
Pearl’s Tigers lost both of their matchups last season to the Tide, which is coached this year by newcomer Avery Johnson. “A rivalry win is big, it’s big, there is just no denying it, but I would rather focus on how we need to get it rather than the fact we need to get it.,” Pearl said.
“I don't want to put that pressure on our players,” the coach added. “We are trying to get to 3-3. We are trying to play better. We are trying to win the next game.
“I am not going to be focused too much on the realities of the fact that it will be a game that matters a lot more to our fans than other games,” Pearl said. “I have just got to focus on keep playing hard, keep playing better and doing what we have got to do to try and win.”
News and Notes: Alabama is the only team to defeat South Carolina this year, but is coming to Auburn after losing 71-63 at Vandy in a game the Tide hit just 7-20 free throws...Auburn guard Bryce Brown has made 36 three-point field goals, which ranks 10th in school history for a freshman. Ronnie Battle’s record is 64 in 1989-90. Brown is three behind Jay Heard (1998-99) and Rasheem Barrett (2005-06) and five behind Auburn graduate assistant coach Frankie Sullivan’s 41 from the 2008-09 season...Canty is averaging 3.69 treys per game, which ranks fifth nationally...Auburn’s victory over Kentucky ended a streak of 15 consecutive losses to teams ranked in the Top 25...Auburn is averaging 76.1 points per game while Alabama is scoring 66.2. The Tigers are giving up 77.2 points per contest while Alabama’s opponents are averaging 65.7...Auburn is hitting 43.2 percent of its field goals and 37.5 of its threes while Alabama is hitting 43.4 percent of its field goals and 34.6 percent of its threes.