Douglas And 'Q' Lead Tigers to Third Victory

Auburn, Ala.--Freshman <!--Default NodeId For Toney Douglas is 1584106,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1584106]>Toney Douglas</A> put on a show Wednesday night and senior <!--Default NodeId For Quinnel Brown is 1584093,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1584093]>Quinnel Brown</A> took over in crunch time as the surprising Auburn Tigers improved their record to 3-0 with a 92-78 basketball victory over Nicholls State.

Douglas tied the school freshman scoring record with 38 points that was set by guard Eddie Johnson at Florida on Feb. 16, 1974. Johnson moved on to the NBA where he became an all-star with the Atlanta Hawks.

Douglas played an ironman role. He was on the court 39 of the 40 minutes in the game as coach Jeff Lebo didn't see any reason to put the guard on the bench even though the freshman admitted he got tired.

"I told my coach take me out, but he said, ‘No, you have got to stay in.'"

Lebo's choice was obviously a wise one. Douglas hit 13-22 field goals. He was 7-13 on threes, 5-6 at the free throw line and added 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and no turnovers in 39 minutes.

Brown scored a career-high 23 points despite taking just seven field goals. He made six and was 3-4 on treys and 8-10 at the foul line.

"That was a physical game out there," Brown said. "Those guys weren't nearly as big as Temple or even as big as Furman, but they were quick and they played tough," he said. "We played pretty well, but there is still a lot that we can improve on."

The Tigers can't improve on their record, which is surprising considering the lack of height. Douglas said he wasn't expecting a 3-0 start.

"It is going better than I hoped, but our coach tells us every day that we have got to keep working because we are not where we are supposed to be right now," Douglas said. "He tells us hard work will always pay off."

Douglas showed an all-around game, scoring from three-point range, off the dribble from mid-range and in transition. Lebo said that it seems like the more difficult the shot, the more likely Douglas is to make it.

When asked if he likes to shoot in traffic, Douglas said, "I would rather take the three, but if they guard me real close I will take it to the basket and pull up and shoot."

Nicholls State took a quick 7-2 lead before the Tigers caught the Colonels on a three-pointer by Douglas to move ahead 19-18 at the 12:30 mark.

Auburn led most of the rest of the half thanks to the shooting by Douglas, who scored 24 points in the first 20 minutes.

Auburn built the lead to nine points on a Daniel Hayles three-pointer following a good pass from Douglas at the 2:16 mark, but the visitors outscored Auburn 11-4 the rest of the half to cut the AU lead to 42-40 at intermission.

At the break, Douglas was 9-12 from the field with four makes on six three-pointers. He was 2-2 at the free throw line for his 24 points. The rest of the team was just 5-18 from the field and 3-14 on treys. Meanwhile, Nicholls was sizzling from the field, hitting 57.1 percent.

Lebo had praise for the play of Nicholls State. "I thought they did a good job," Lebo noted. "They were hard to defend. They were very small, spread out and were quick at just about every spot, and the spots they weren't quick at they shot very well."

The Auburn coach said for the first time this season the Tigers took an excessive number of bad shots, particularly in the first half. "Ian Young got us going in the second half an Toney was just terrific

Auburn increased the lead early in the second half, but the Colonels remained within striking range. At the eight-minute mark the Tigers led just 70-67, but then Brown went to work. In one stretch, the senior hit three treys, a basket in the lane and four free throws as the Tigers built the lead to as many as 18 points before settling for a 14-point victory.

"I am all right with how I played," Brown said. "The first half I needed to come out with a more aggressive mentality. In the second half I did that because I knew we had to be more aggressive to have a chance to win."

Brown was impressed with what he saw from Douglas. "He is so aggressive and he can really shoot the ball and defend," Brown said. "When you can defend like he does, a lot of time the offense will come, too."

Toney Douglas drives to the basket vs. Nicholls State.

Lebo had praise for Douglas, too. "I knew he had scored a lot, but I didn't really know he had that many points," the coach said.

"We didn't have our best game by any stretch of the imagination, but we found a way to win in the end," Lebo added. "That is what we want to do. We don't know when they are going to stop, but we will take them when we can get them and move on to the next one."

Lebo joked, "38 and 10 is not bad for a freshman. I know I was never allowed to shoot 22 shots as a freshman."

Auburn improved its shooting in the second half, making 53.8 percent to finish at an even 50 percent from the field vs. 45.6 for the Colonels.

"We were out of sync a little bit in the first half," Lebo said. "We are not playing very many people. We need to bring somebody else off the bench."

Senior Ronny LeMelle, who was injured in preseason, could be back in action as early as the next game. "We are trying to get his wind back," Lebo said.

Young scored 17 for the Tiers and added three assists and two steals.

Lebo said he thought that Nathan Watson and Frank Tolbert both struggled. Each had five points and Hayles was the only other scorer with four. Troy Gaines played four minutes and did not score.

Australian Stefan Blasczynski led the visitors with 26 points and Jason Wilkins added 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Auburn was out-rebounded 36-33 and committed 18 turnovers, two more than Nicholls State.

Nicholls State did much of its damage inside, outscoring the Tigers 40-18 in the paint.

Auburn countered that by nailing 21-25 free throws while Nicholls State hit 10-14.

Nicholls coach J.P. Piper said that Douglas surprised the Colonels. "Well, he was not like that in the scouting report. We knew he was good, but we did not expect that. He was not the focus of our defense and maybe in hindsight he should have been, but taking that focus off another player (Young) may have shut him down, but it would have created opportunities for that player."

The Tigers are back in action on Saturday with a 1 p.m. home game vs. Louisiana Tech.

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