It's the Pitts: Panthers Pound Tigers

Auburn had by far its worst performance of the young basketball season in a blowout loss at Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, Pa.--Auburn followed up a rotten first half performance with less than impressive second half play and the result was an embarrassing 78-41 loss to the Pitt Panthers on Sunday night.

The Tigers fell to 3-2 while the Panthers improved their record to 5-0 with the easy win in their first ever basketball game vs. Auburn.

How bad was it for the Tigers? The numbers tell the story:

*Auburn was mauled on the boards. The hometown enjoyed a 41-20 rebounding advantage.

*The home team led 39-15 at halftime and outscored the visitors 39-26 in the second half even though the Panthers cleared the bench with only two starters playing 20 or more minutes.

Quantez Robertson is fouled on a shot by Carl Krauser of the Panthers.

*Four Auburn freshman starters--Josh Dollard, Korvotney Barber, Rasheem Barrett and Quantez Robertson--combined for a total of just 12 points and 11 rebounds in the game.

*With the score tied at 4-4 early in the game, the Panthers scored 22 uncontested points to take control of the contest.

*Auburn's defense allowed the Panthers to hit 12-21 three-pointers and 51.8 percent of their field goals.

*The Tigers were embarrassingly bad at the free throw line, making just 3-15 shots. Frank Tolbert was 0-5, Robertson 1-4, Barber 0-3, Joey Cameron 0-1 and Ronny LeMelle was 2-2.

The Tigers had 19 turnovers and just seven assists. Tolbert had six turnovers in 18 minutes. The Panthers enjoyed a 30-9 margin on points off of turnovers.

*Auburn did not score a fast break basket while Pitt had eight points on runouts.

*Pitt enjoyed a 28-16 advantage on points in the paint and a 20-12 margin on second chance points.

With a crowd of 9,257 enjoying the rout at the Petersen Events Center, the lone bright spot for the Tigers was the play of senior Ronny LeMelle, a native of Pennsylvania. He hit 6-8 shots, including all four of his three-pointers, to lead the Tigers with 18 points.

Unfortunately for Jeff Lebo's club, no other player scored more than five points. Tolbert got to five while Barber and Josh Dollard scored four apiece. AU's leading rebounder, Tolbert, had four.

The Panthers were led by senior guard Carl Krauser, who soured 14 points in 20 minutes. Aaron Gray and Levance Fields scored 10 apiece as 10 Panthers broke into the scoring column. Levon Kendall contributed nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Big East team in just 15 minutes of court time.

"We just got hammered on the boards," says Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, who notes that his team made a lot of bad decisions.

Auburn has lost its two road games. The Tigers went down on Monday night at Fort Collins, Colo., against Colorado State.

For the Tigers, it's time to regroup with a 10-day layoff before their next outing, a home contest vs. Southeastern Louisiana.

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