Tigers Looking To Turn Things Around On Senior Day

The Auburn basketball team will be looking to end a four-game slide and build some momentum heading into the SEC tounament as LSU comes to town.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite playing some of their best basketball of the season the Auburn Tigers just can't seem to pull out a victory. The Tigers will look to end that trend and build momentum heading into the SEC Tournament on Senior Day against LSU.

Saturday's 3 p.m. game will be special for center Kyle Davis, who has fought through injuries and personal tragedy over his four years on the Plains and has still laid it one the line for his team night in an night out.

"Well, this is going to be a big game for me and I am just going to go out there and play hard and try and lead my team," Davis says. "This is the last time that I am going to be able to play on Auburn's home court and it will be well missed."

Davis will leave Auburn as the SEC's second all-time leading shot blocker with 360 blocks heading into Saturday's game. He trails only Shaquille O'Neal (412) and Davis says that is very special to him.

"It meant a lot to me to know that I could come here and do something like that," the 6-10 senior explains. "I didn't realize that I would be able to do that, but once it got going and I kept going, I just wanted to set so high that it may be a while before somebody could catch it."

Kyle Davis will play his final home game for the Tigers on Saturday

The Tigers will also send off three other seniors on Saturday. Point guard Chris Lollar, forward Rodney Tucker and walk-on guard Johnathan Lewis will all be recognized along with Davis prior to the game.

"This is an important day for us it is Senior Day," Coach Cliff Ellis says. "We have got four seniors that participated with our team. A lot of them have been behind the scenes, but you always want to send your seniors off in the right fashion."

When it comes to game time it should be a tough one as the Tigers will have to tame the Bayou Bengals for the second time this season after pulling off an 80-68 upset of LSU in Baton Rouge on February 18th, which was Auburn's last win.

The Tigers will face a bit of a different LSU team due to the fact that leading scorer Jamie Lloreda has left the team following what has been reported to be an Aachilles injury and is not expected to return.

"They are number two in the west right now," Ellis says. "When we caught them early it was a game in which Lloreda was hurt and I think that we were probably able to capitalize somewhat on his injury, but I know this team is playing pretty well right now. It's a very good basketball team and we are going to have to play a great game."

Even without Lloreda the Bayou Bengals have plenty of firepower to win on the road. Freshman forward Brandon Bass is averaging 12.6 points and seven rebounds per game. Junior guard Darrel Mitchell is hitting for 11.8 points per game and junior guard Antonio Hudson is helping to pick up the slack left by Lloreda'a absence scoring 9.7 points per contest.

Ellis says that his team will not be fooled into a false sense of security just because LSU's leading scorer is no longer with them. "They have had a little time to adjust to that and they are talented," the coach says. "You have got experienced players that have been there and you have got the number one recruiting class in America to go with it. They are not freshmen anymore. When you get to this time of year they have been through it and the league is not new to them."

Rodney Tucker

For Auburn things have not been going well over the last couple of weeks. However, Tigers are finally healthy and are playing solid basketball at times, but are on a four-game losing streak, which is their longest of the season.

Davis says that if they are going to make a run at postseason play he and his teammates have just got to keep doing what they have been doing. "We plan on going to the SEC Tournament as well as into this game on Saturday with the mindset that we are going to play our hardest and hopefully we will come out with some victories," he says.

Davis also notes that just because things haven't gone as planned for the Tigers this season they are not going to quit.

"It has been kind of a disappointment in the fact that some of the games this season didn't go the way that we wanted them to," Davis explains. "But, we can't give up and say we want the season to hurry up and come to an end. We can't be like that. We have just got to go out there with the mindset and the confidence that we are going to keep playing hard and never give up."

One plus for the Tigers will be that leading scorer Marco Killingsworth will return to the lineup after being suspended for the Mississippi State game. The junior forward was suspended for retaliating with a punch at Tennessee forward Brandon Crump after receiving repeated elbows from the Volunteers.

Jonathan Lewis

With the return of Killingsworth the Tigers should have a full lineup ready to go for LSU and the SEC Tournament, which has been a rarity this season. However, if the Tigers have any plans of playing in the postseason after their trip to Atlanta for the SEC event they are going to have take advantage of the fact that everyone is healthy and pick up a couple of big wins down the stretch to even make the NIT.

Saturday's 3 p.m. contest will not be televised and tickets can be purchased on Saturday.


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