AU Hopes to End LSU's Homecourt Winning Streak

Auburn, Ala.--The clock is ticking on the Auburn basketball Tigers in their quest to make a run at the Southeastern Conference West title.

At 1-3 in the SEC, the Tigers share the league's worst record with Tennessee and Vanderbilt, a pair from the SEC East. They can't afford too many more setbacks early in the conference season or they will be buried in a hole too deep to dig out from as they prepare for the fifth of 16 league games.

Tipoff has been changed to 1 p.m. CST and the game will be televised regionally by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.

Auburn's assignment is not an easy one. LSU currently is riding a 10-game winning streak at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge. Nine of those victories have come this season for an 11-5 LSU team that could easily have a better record.

Coach John Brady's bunch lost four of those games by a total of just 11 points. They fell 75-74 to Weber State in overtime on a buzzer beat in Hilo, Hawaii. New Orleans nipped LSU 60-59 with a late three-point shot. Miami edged LSU 68-61 in a game that was tied with a minute to play. LSU also dropped a heartbreaker to open SEC play, falling 76-74 at Alabama after leading 72-64.

Auburn coach Cliff Ellis says that despite his Tigers winning five of the last seven games vs. LSU, the Bayou Bengals have traditionally been a tough opponent for the Tigers. The veteran AU coach says that factor plus a talented LSU starting five will make it tough to win in Baton Rouge. When asked if the recent ill-will between Auburn and LSU fans that surfaced on the football front will add to the LSU homecourt advantage, Ellis responded by saying, "That is part of it."

Auburn is expected to go with its regular starting lineup featuring Kyle Davis at center as he continues to play well while recovering from elbow surgery. He blocked eight shots in Auburn's 73-67 loss at Vanderbilt. In its last outing, LSU was stunned in Gainesville by the hot-shooting Gators who blistered the visitors in a 102-70 beating.

Collis Temple III, a 6-7 junior guard, is LSU's leading scorer with 16.9 points per game. Ronald Dupree, a 6-7 junior forward, is just behind in scoring at 16.8 points per contest. He is also contributing 6.4 rebounds and is one of the best all-around players in the league.

Another junior, guard Torris Bright, is averaging 12.9 points and five assists per outing. The biggest starter is 6-8, 250-pound Brad Bridgewater, who averages 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds. Jermaine Williams, a 6-7 senior, rounds out the starting lineup with averages of 6.2 points and 4.9 rebounds.

Ellis says his Tigers are spending extra time trying to solve their free throw problem. He says that he sees signs of that happening in practice, but says the games are the real proving ground. Auburn is hitting just 58.2 percent from the foul line. LSU is hitting 70.4 percent.

The most impressive statistic for LSU is probably its three-point shooting percentage. The Bayou Bengals have hit 40.7 percent of their treys, which leads the SEC. They are hitting a very impressive 47.9 percent of their three-pointers in conference games.

Following the road trip to LSU, Auburn will entertain Kentucky at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

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