Tolbert Looking For Better Performance

Comments from Frank Tolbert and Coach Jeff Lebo are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Frank Tolbert has a definite opinion on what his Auburn basketball team needs to do to be successful on Wednesday night vs. visiting Ole Miss.

"We need to come out more energized," the sophomore guard says.

He notes that in Auburn's last outing, a disappointing 71-53 loss at Mississippi State on Saturday, that the Tigers didn't play well.

"I don't think we came out with the energy we had against Georgia or LSU," he says. "We came out kind of flat. The key on Wednesday is to come out with energy and enthusiasm."

The Tigers will be trying to snap a two-game losing streak while Ole Miss is trying to end a five-game losing streak. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Tolbert says that the losing can take a toll on a young team and his squad is dominated by freshmen and sophomores so he says the Tigers need to put Saturday's game behind them except to learn from it.

"It was frustrating because we didn't play to the best of our abilities," the 6-4, 210-pound sophomore says. "We just didn't go out and play like we know we can."

Frank Tolbert is averaging 9.6 points per game.

Auburn will bring a 9-10 overall mark in the contest and a 1-7 SEC record on Wednesday. Ole Miss is 3-5 in the SEC and 13-8 overall.

Auburn coach Jeff Lebo says his Tigers will need to handle the Ole Miss pressure defense, shoot better and play with more intensity than his team did on Saturday at Mississippi State.

"We are a little fatigued I think," Lebo says "We have had some injuries. We were already down to 12 scholarships instead of 13 and we have one sitting out so we are down to 11. We had one leave early so we are down to 10. We have two hurt so we are down to eight and one of those that doesn't really play so you are down to seven.

"That is kind of where we were from a depth standpoint," Lebo notes. "I thought early we had some depth. Now, it has kind of caught us and we are playing too many young guys, too many minutes. It has really hurt us. I thought we looked very fatigued against Mississippi State. We kind of hit the wall. We couldn't react to balls. They were quicker to balls."

Lebo says that he is seeing signs of improvement in practice, but says that AU's inconsistent shooting in conference games goes a long way in explaining the poor SEC record and can overshadow improvements in other areas. The Tigers are shooting just 39.5 percent from the field in conference games while their opponents are making 44.2 percent of their shots.

"It is just something they are going to have to get through," the coach says.


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