Young And Relentless Tigers Doom Temple

Senior guard Ian Young's three-pointer with 11.9 seconds remaining gave the Auburn Tigers an 80-78 victory over Temple Friday night.

Philadelphia, Penn.-–Senior Ian Young was the man of the hour for Coach Jeff Lebo in his first regular season game as Auburn's head coach as the guard scored 28 points, including a three-pointer with 11.9 seconds left to give the Tigers an 80-78 win against the Temple Owls in the season opener for both schools.

Trailing 78-77 after a Mark Tyndale three-pointer gave Temple its first lead of the second half with 20 seconds remaining, the Tigers needed a big play from their best player and Young stepped forward. Taking over the game, Young drilled a long three that gave Auburn back the lead against Coach John Chaney's club. Auburn then made two defensive stands in the last seconds of the game to hold off the Owls and come away with the win.

A native of Pennsylvania, Lebo said that Friday night's win was a special one for him against a team and program like Temple. With more than 150 family and friends in the crowd, including former high school teammate Billy Owens, Auburn pulled off the upset and Lebo said that was all because of the kids on the team.

"It was big to win in front of my people, but I'm really proud of my kids more than anything," Lebo said. "No one gave them a lot of credit or a chance to come in here an compete. The way we won it makes me more proud than anything. We were down and had to come back and take the lead and then hang onto it at the end and make big plays."

Leading Auburn in scoring, Young was 10-14 from the field, six of 10 from behind the arc, and also added six assists. For the game the Tigers made a school record 18 three-pointers in 41 attempts and made 28-59 field goals overall. Despite the size disadvantage the Tigers had going into the game with Temple starters on average three inches taller than Auburn's at the same position, the Tigers trailed the Owls in rebounds by a margin of only 37-35. Young said that Auburn's goal was to play its game and play physical and the plan worked for the win.

"Our game plan was basically to come out and play our style of basketball," Young said. "We knew they were big, but we were going to come out, spread the floor and play hard and physical. That's what coach had on the board. Even though we're small it doesn't mean we can't be tough and physical. That's what we came out here and showed.

"It feels great because when they were sucking air we were still growing," Young added on Auburn's small, but in-shape lineup. "I just thank Coach Jeff Lebo for coming here and putting us through that regimen because the way we play is great."

The game was also a chance for Auburn's freshmen to grow up and they had very few growing pains in their first game. Guard Toney Douglas was outstanding with 15 points and four assists and his four late points were huge in the win. Frank Tolbert added nine points before fouling out late in the contest. Daniel Hayles also gave the Tigers some quality minutes after earning the start at forward.

Senior Quinnel Brown, playing on the interior for the Tigers, scored 11 points, pulled down eight rebounds and added five assists.

Auburn was supposed to be the team with the disadvantage because of a lack of size, but except for several minutes to start the game that wasn't the case at all. Using a decided edge in size to its advantage, Temple pushed around the smaller Tigers early in the game and ran out to a quick 21-5 lead with 6-11, 285 forward Wayne Marshall scoring eight early points. Needing something to hang their hats on, the Tigers got a three-pointer from Tolbert to cut the lead to 13 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half.

That would signal the start of a dominating close of the half for the Tigers as they bombed the Owls into submission from all over the court. With Young, Nathan Watson and Tolbert leading the way Auburn quickly cut the lead with shots from the perimeter. First Watson drained one then Tolbert and Watson once again. Douglas got on the board with his first career basket just moments later to cut Temple's lead to 24-17 and the Tigers were officially on a roll.

Jeff Lebo (second from right) and his coaching staff charge the floor at the victory.

Using their speed to an advantage, the Tigers ran wave after wave of players at the bigger, slower Owls and the plan worked. Getting open looks by running an efficient offense, Quinnel Brown hit his first three of the game to cut the lead to 26-23 just moments later and a Brett Howell three-pointer tied the game with 7:35 remaining, Auburn's first tie since the opening tip of the game. Following a Temple free throw to give the Owls the lead, Auburn took its first lead of the game on a Tolbert basket in the paint. That's when the Young show took center stage.

The senior hit a three-pointer to continue the run and following a Temple three he hit another long range jumper to put the Tigers up by four at 34-30. A basket from just inside the three-point line by Young put Auburn up by six just moments later and another three put the Tigers up by eight.

Two Marshall free throws cut the lead down to six before a Howell three put the Tigers up by nine. The Owls cut the lead to six before another three by Young silenced the Temple crowd. Auburn and Temple would trade baskets the rest of the way as the Tigers took a surprising 50-41 lead into intermission. Young led the way for Auburn with 14 points and five assists as the Tigers made 14 three-pointers in the first 20 minutes.

Ian Young waves to the crowd at the Liacouras Center after the Auburn victory.

In the second half the Owls closed the gap as Auburn's lead dwindled constantly after Brown's five quick points in the opening minutes gave the Tigers a 55-41 lead. That's when Temple extended the zone and used its size to get back into the game. Facing a barrage of hot shooting from the Owls, Auburn kept the lead above six until a Mardy Collins basket cut the lead to four with 6:54 remaining. After scoring 50 points in the first half the Tigers scored just 19 the first 15 minutes of the second half before Douglas hit two free throws with 5:23 left to break a 69-69 tie and put Auburn back up by two. From that point forward it was nip and tuck the rest of the way before Young's heroics lifted the Tigers to a victory.

Dustin Salisbery led the way for the Owls with 22 points and also pulled down six rebounds. Collins, a 6-6 point guard, added 13 points and nine assists for Temple.

Auburn returns to action Monday night at 7 p.m. when it takes on the Furman Paladins at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. The game is part of a split double-header as the women player earlier in the day at 11:30 a.m. against Chattanooga.

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