Hoops Tigers Hit The Road Again to Face Pitt

A preview of Sunday's Auburn at Pittsburgh basketball game is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn is looking for more success on its second road trip of the season as Coach Jeff Lebo's Tigers take on the 4-0 Pitt Panthers on Sunday evening in Pittsburgh.

Tipoff time is set for 6:30 p.m. CST from the 12,508-seat Petersen Events Center as the Tigers and Panthers meet for the first time in basketball. There is no television coverage for the last game the Tigers will play until getting back in action on Dec. 14th at home vs. Southeastern Louisiana.

"You are going to play in a hostile environment against a very big, physical team that has a terrific player in Carl Krauser," Lebo says. "They have had extra time to get ready for us and they are probably by far the best defensive team we have faced.

"They are a very physical team," Lebo notes. "Pittsburgh is always very physical. It is a team the last five years that has averaged close to 25 wins a seasons so you are looking at a team that has been really good, especially at home."

Carl Krauser is the top scorer for the Panthers.

The Panthers start two seniors, two juniors and one freshman. Krauser, a 6-2 senior guard from The Bronx, N.Y., is the leading scorer. He averages 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Auburn had trouble at Fort Collins on Monday night with Colorado State's pair of seven-footers. The Panthers have a big one, too. Junior Aaron Gray is 7-0, 270 pounds and is averaging 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.

The forwards are 6-9, 220 junior Levon Kendall (6.0 points, 6.5 rebounds) and 6-6, 220 John DeGroat (5.3 points, 2.8 rebounds). The other starter is 5-10 freshman guard Levance Fields, who is averaging 6.3 points and 3.5 assists.

Coach Jamie Dixon's team has victories over St. Peter's (82-71), Robert Morris (86-59), Maine (62-29) and in their last outing on Tuesday the Panthers defeated St. Francis of New York by a 79-58 score.

Auburn, which is 3-1, comes into the game after a 91-76 Thursday night home victory over McNeese State.

Lebo liked the play of point guards Quantez Robertson and Michael Woodard in the victory over the Cowboys, but was not happy with the way other players took care of the basketball. Sophomore guard Frank Tolbert had five turnovers to go with six vs. Colorado State.

With Tolbert and sophomoe forward Daniel Hayles the only players who saw extensive playing time last year, Tolbert was being counted on to be a steadying influence. So far that hasn't been the case.

He has got to cut down on his poor decisions--when to drive it," Lebo says. "He charges over people. He is going at such a high rate. He goes 100 miles per hour. We are trying to get him down to about 90. I would rather have it that way than the other. Sometimes you can't get them to 100."

The Tigers are led in scoring by Ronny LeMelle, who has bounced back from knee surgery that sidelined him last year. The senior forward is averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

A native of Pennsylvania, LeMelle says he is looking forward to the game because he will have lot of friends and family making the trip to Pittsburgh from his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa. Last year the Tigers played closer to his home as they defeated Temple in Philadelphia, but he was injured for that contest.

Auburn assistant coach Dave Lebo was honored on Friday night in Carlisle, Pa.

Auburn Basketball Notes: Lebo says he continues to like his team's attitude and work ethic and adds that he sees signs the Tigers are improving...Auburn's five freshmen are playing major roles. Josh Dollard is averaging 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, Robertson is averaging 9.0 points, 5.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds, Korvotney Barber is averaging 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds, Rasheem Barrett is averaging 7.8 points 3.0 rebounds while Joey Cameron is averaging 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds...The women's team is also relying heavily on freshmen. Six-foot-five freshman guard DeWanna Bonner is leading Coach Nell Fortner's team in scoring with 14.4 points per game and 6-7 freshman center Keke Carrier is scoring 10.7 per contest. The 4-3 AU women will play at 3-3 UT-Chattanooga on Sunday at 4 p.m. CST...Friday night at Carlisle, Pa., High, Auburn assistant coach Dave Lebo was honored by having the school's home basketball court named in Dave Lebo's honor. He led Carlisle High to four state titles in his 17 seasons coaching that school where his record was 365-149. Jeff Lebo was a high school All-American at Carlisle High playing for his father.

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