Tigers Looking To Improve Vs. Global Sports

Auburn, Ala.--In the second and final tuneup prior to the start of the 2003-2004 basketball season, Auburn will take on the Global Sports All-Stars at 7 p.m. Thursday in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The theme of the evening for the Tigers will be improving the defensive performance.

Coach Cliff Ellis has been putting his Tigers through defensive drills after Auburn allowed the EA Sports All-Stars to outscore his team 83-81 last Friday in an exhibition game. The visitors shot 59.5 percent in the second half to erase a 16-point Auburn lead.

Auburn held its own on the boards vs. EA Sports with a 46-37 rebounding edge. AU had 21 turnovers, one more than the visitors, and the Tigers shot a respectable 47.1 percent from the field. However, they struggled at the free throw line enough to lose the game in that one specific area as AU shooters made just 10-22.

By Monday night, the Tigers have to be ready to play for keeps as a dangerous College of Charleston team visits Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The following Friday, the Tigers take on Western Kentucky.

For Ellis, getting his team adjusted to playing without starting point guard Lewis Monroe is the big assignment on offense. Monroe suffered a fracture in his foot at practice Nov. 4th. He had surgery three days later and is not expected back in action until around Christmas at the earliest.

"We learned a lot from our last exhibition game," Ellis said. "Hopefully, we will improve. We basically had only one day with Ian (Ian Young) at the point to go along with Chris Lollar. We have had a little bit more time. We have to work on getting better."

Ian Young (3) can play the point guard and two-guard positions.

Young is one of three newcomers that Ellis is trying to blend into the mix. Quinnel Brown, a 6-6 junior forward, scored 12 points and added five rebounds in a reserve role vs. EA Sports. Ronney LeMelle, a 6-5 guard, scored seven points and added seven rebounds in a start last week. He is expected to come off the bench vs. Global Sports.

Monroe, who played very well for the Tigers last year, especially in the SEC and NCAA tournaments, is wearing a cast with a battery that electrically stimulates his fractured bone. "They say it is supposed to hurry up the healing process so it is worth a try," Monroe tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I hope to get back on the court as soon as possible, but the most important thing is to get it healed first. I don't want to try to come back too soon."

The Tigers are scheduled to start 6-10 senior Kyle Davis at center and he is flanked by junior forwards Brandon Robinson and Marco Killingsworth. Joining Young at guard will be 6-3 junior Nathan Watson, who struggled with his shooting in the opener.

EA Sports is led by 6-7, 230 forward Shawn Daniels from Utah State and 6-5 forward Adrian Peterson from Oklahoma State (11.7 points per game). Peterson is familiar to Auburn fans as the player who scored 27 points vs. the Tigers at the Hoosierdome in Indianapolis as Auburn beat the Cowboys 81-75 to move into the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 round in 1999.

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