Terriers Bite Tigers Who Suffer First Home Loss

Auburn struggled with its shooting as Wofford overcame a big AU lead to defeat the Tigers on Sunday.

Auburn, Ala.--It was an ugly day for Auburn basketball as the Wofford Terriers came out of Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum with an 85-78 win, and Tiger senior Ronny LeMelle left the game after re-injuring his right knee.

"Everything was difficult for us tonight," said head coach Jeff Lebo. "The ball wasn't going in the basket. We shot four of 24 (on threes) and (leading scorer Toney Douglas) Toney really struggled tonight offensively and defensively.

"There are going to be nights when you don't hit shots. He's a freshman and he'll have to help us in other ways. He'll have to learn that, and this is all a learning experience for those young guys."

LeMelle, who had surgery on his right knee on Nov. 9 after slightly tearing his medial meniscus, was playing in his third game after coming back from the injury. After scoring four points in nine minutes in the first half, he hobbled off the court after missing a lay up and did not return.

"We'll know more as we get an X-Ray," Lebo said. "He felt like he did the same thing that he did before, which was a tear."

Frank Tolbert takes a jump shot vs. the Terriers.

The Tigers (4-2) raced out to a 32-17 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half, but Wofford turned up the pressure defensively and forced Auburn into bad shots for most of the game. The Terriers (4-2) were able to capitalize on their open looks, hitting 30 of 56 from the field for 53.6 percent. They also hit 17 of 22 free throws for 77.3 percent.

"It was basically defensive letdowns after defensive letdowns," said senior point guard Ian Young, who scored 22 points. "We weren't prepared. When you're up 15 you're supposed to put a team down, not give them more confidence. We gave them confidence they could play with us and they came back and you see the end result.

"We just didn't come ready to play. We've played against Colorado State, Virginia and Temple, and they were way bigger than this team. We just weren't ready and we didn't come out ready to play. That's the captains' fault. That's me, Nathan and Quinnel's fault for not getting the team ready to play. There's no excuse anywhere else."

Wofford led at halftime 44-40 and never relinquished the lead during the second half, leading by as many as nine. Auburn was able to cut it to two with under a minute remaining, but could never take the lead because of tough breaks down the stretch.

"We had some plays tonight where we'd miss a lay-up," Lebo said. "Ian missed a lay-up at about the four-minute mark, a wide open lay-up. We come down and have a good defensive stand and go up to rebound the ball, and Nate goes to grab it with one hand. There's nobody else around and we lose the ball out of bounds. We had a lot of those funky plays tonight and we could never get a group except for maybe the first 10 minutes of the game."

Douglas, who was averaging 22 points per game entering the contest, had his second 30-plus point game against Virginia on Friday. However, the freshman guard was unable to get things going on Sunday against Wofford.

"He forced some shots and he wasn't himself in this game," Lebo said. "Sometimes--and I've been in it as a player myself--there's a funky fog and he had a little bit of it today. He forced some shots. He wanted to score and he's got to understand, and we'll talk to him, that some nights it's not going to be there. You can't force it and he's got to let the game come to him."

Douglas went 0-7 from the field, 0-3 on three-point attempts and was three of four from the line. He also had three rebounds, one assist and four turnovers in 25 minutes of action.

Wofford was led by junior forward Howard Wilkerson with 19 points and eight rebounds, and senior guard Adrien Borders with 21 points and four assists. Borders hit perhaps the biggest shot of the game with 2:56 remaining. Auburn had cut the lead to four, but Borders' three-pointer from the corner with the shot clock winding down put the Terriers back up by seven.

Even though the Tigers lost their first home game of the season, Lebo said he was pleased with the way his players battled. Quinnel Brown had a solid game with 17 points and eight boards, and freshman guard Frank Tolbert added 16 points, four steals, three rebounds and a lot of hustle.

Auburn returns to action Tuesday at College of Charleston at 6 p.m. CST on Fox Sports. The next home game for the Tigers is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 12 at home against UNLV, also to be televised on Fox Sports.

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