Tigers Give Credit To Georgia's Tough Defense

Comments from Marco Killingsworth, Ian Young and Kyle Davis are featured following Auburn's loss in the SEC Tournament.

Atlanta, Ga.—In a game that the Auburn basketball team needed, the Tigers were overpowered by Georgia's tough man to man defense, out of sync most of the game and just couldn't get their few open looks to go down.

All of those factors resulted in a 73-59 loss in the first round of the SEC Tournament that may have taken away the Tigers hopes for a bid to the NIT and that seemed hard to swallow for a lot of the players following the contest.

"It was very tough," Kyle Davis, who did not score and only had one rebound in the game, explained. "Me being a senior I should have done a lot more to help my team out than I did. Our shots weren't falling and it was a very tough game and we had a lot of turnovers and stuff."

One player whose shots just wouldn't drop on Thursday was Ian Young. The junior guard, who had been averaging 15.5 points per game over his last eight contests, went a chilly 1-9 from the floor on Thursday. For the day Young scored three points, had two rebounds and committed five turnovers.

Ian Young

"Sometimes you just have games like that," Young said. "I am disappointed that it happened in a big game like this, but I have to be better than that. When my shot is not going, I have got to get to the hole, rebound, play defense, do other things."

Young went on to note that the guys in red had a lot to do with his lackluster performance. "They played good defense," he said. "They were up on me and when I put the ball down they ran two at me. They just played good defense and I give them all of the credit."

Davis also said that the tight, physical Georgia defense created a lot of problems for his team, but that was the style they were expecting the Bulldogs to play.

"We knew they were going to play hard and tough defense and physical defense," Davis said. "We just couldn't get in rhythm. Our shots weren't falling and that was one of the big things."

One bright spot for the Tigers in the loss was Marco Killingsworth. The junior scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds. The third team All-SEC forward said he gave the Tigers everything he had on Thursday and he said that was all he was trying to do.

Marco Killingsworth hit 6 of the 11 shots against the Bulldogs.

"I have seen us dig ourselves out of ourselves out of holes like that plenty of times before," Killingsworth noted. "But, the score was like 11-0 and I was like ugh, I have got to bring a spark, just try to do something."

Killingsworth also said that he felt like Georgia was just the tougher team on Thursday. "They were playing with more fight," the forward explained. "They were taking it to us. Georgia is a physical team regardless. They are going to be up in you. That is just how they play."

He went on to say that the Bulldogs' defense was so tight that it made it hard for him to get open looks at the basket a lot of times. "I was just trying to get it off the glass," Killingsworth said. "That is what I was doing to try and bring a little spark. I got some looks, but about half of them were off the glass."

Killingsworth did note that he felt like his team did all that it could do to win the game, but that it just wasn't good enough.

"To be honest we were playing good," the forward, said. "All of them are seniors besides Stukes and they were all up in us. They have been through the league once or twice and our young guys aren't used to that."

After the loss Killingsworth, who averaged 13.5 points on 59 percent field goal shooting and 6.8 rebounds per game, was asked if he had thought about turning pro following what was a very tough season for the Tigers.

"My mind isn't on that right now," Killingsworth said. "I am thinking about this game right here. It was a tough loss. Really, people haven't talked to me about that. My mind isn't right there. I am just thinking about this game we just played."

Kyle Davis may have played his final game as an Auburn Tiger.

As for the overall feeling from the players following the game Davis, who had just played his last conference game as an Auburn Tiger, seemed to sum things up well. "It was very hard because my SEC season is over. Hopefully, we can make it to the NIT and that will give me another game to go out there and play hard.

As for the Tigers chances at making the NIT, the situation is foggy at best. The Tigers do meet the minimum criteria of a .500 overall record, the SEC has been the toughest conference in the country this season and heading into the game and the Tigers had a solid RPI of 67th, which is usually NIT worthy.

However, Auburn Coach Cliff Ellis said that when it comes to selection time for any tournament there are always question marks. "It's hard to say, a lot depends on what happens throughout the country," he said. "Certainly our RPI, were in there. But, you don't know you just don't know."

However, even with his team's postseason hopes up in the air, Ellis said that he believes his team has a solid case to continue playing this season. "As far as the NIT, I think that anybody in this league that doesn't get to the NCAAs, the way this league has been, deserves to get in there," he explained.


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