A Tale Of Two Halves For Auburn Freshmen

Auburn's freshmen dominated lineup played solid basketball for 20 minutes, but struggled offensively in the second half.

Auburn, Ala.--It was a tale of two halves for the Auburn freshmen in the Tigers' 56-52 loss to Alabama.

Auburn led 34-27 at halftime behind 20 points from Rasheem Barrett and Josh Dollard. Quantez Robertson and Korvotney Barber added four apiece as 28 of Auburn's first 34 points came from freshmen.

The Crimson Tide played mostly man to man defense in the first half and the Tigers were able to take advantage of it with their athleticism down low.

"In the first half they played us man to man," Dollard noted. "With (Alabama senior forward) Chuck Davis out we thought we had an advantage with our big guys. We were in a flow and playing better than them so we just tried to take advantage of that and get it down low, and it worked out for us in the first half."

Lebo said he was pleased with the way his young players attacked the basket early in the game.

"Korvotney Barber made a couple of post moves in there and had a couple quick jump hooks," Lebo said. "Josh got the ball in there and attacked pretty well inside."

However, the second half was a different story. Playing with three and four freshmen on the court at the same time caught up with the Tigers down the stretch. Auburn scored just 18 points against mostly zone defense.

"We got one to Joey (freshman forward Joey Cameron) right underneath the basket and it took him two days to get it off," Lebo said. "He got fouled, goes to the line and misses two, and they come down and make a three. Those are the kind of plays that frustrate you as a coach."

Freshman Quantez Robertson scored four points and dished out eight assists for the Tigers.

The 2-3 zone defense also took away the shooting of Barrett, who was draining threes from the corner early on, but scored just three points in the final 20 minutes.

"I think we all tailed off," the freshman said. "I think our energy level went down and we've got to learn from that. We're an inexperienced team, but as the year goes on we'll learn that we can't have our energy go down and we have to keep it up throughout the game, even through the hard times."

Barrett made just one of three field goals in the second half while Dollard hit only one of seven attempts from the floor. Dollard ended the first half with a three pointer that hit the front of the rim, got a kind bounce and trickled in to give the Tigers' a seven-point advantage. In nearly the same situation in the second half Dollard's would be game-tying basket didn't get the same bounce and Alabama held on for a 56-52 victory.

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