Tigers Set Lebo Era Record in Blowout Win

Auburn came out smoking as the Tigers burned Winston-Salem State for AU's second victory of the men's basketball season.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers jumped on the visiting Winston-Salem State Rams early Friday night and were never threatened on the way to a 95-62 men's basketball victory at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Auburn's 33-point edge was the largest margin of victory for the Tigers in the Jeff Lebo Era. The previous high margin was 28 points vs. Delaware in December 2004 in a tournament game in Puerto Rico.

Six Tigers scored in double figures with Frank Tolbert leading the way with 21. He did his best "Frank the Tank" impression, diving head first into the seats for a loose ball and crashing several times on hustle plays. For the night he hit 8-12 field goals and added five rebounds.

The Tigers improved to 2-0 with the victories while the Rams, who play out of the MEAC, slipped to 1-4.

At halftime the Tigers led 41-19 thanks to 55.2 percent shooting while holding the Rams to a cool 24.2 percent from the field with aggressive defense, switching from a trapping 1-3-1 zone to man to man.

Tolbert led the way with a dozen points in the first half while Rasheem Barrett chipped in with 11 points on his way to scoring 13 for the game.

Korvotney Barber was Auburn's second leading scorer for the game. The sophomore hit 5-6 field goals and 4-7 free throws on the way to scoring 14 points while adding five rebounds.

"At the first part of the game we were being real patient with the ball, passing the ball around," Barber said. "We were making shots. Later on in the first half we just rushed ourselves and were not swinging the ball like we were. I feel if we will just be patient the whole game we will be able to get a lot of buckets."

The Tigers got 11 points from Quantez Robertson, who was sharp all night. The sophomore guard hit 4-4 field goals, added four rebounds and dished out a career-high nine assists with just one turnover.

"Quantez is the quarterback of the team," Barber said. "He tells everybody what to do so we need him to lead us to victories. He is a big factor on the offensive and defensive side because he runs the show."

Freshmen DeWayne Reed and Lucas Hargrove scored 10 apiece. Reed hit 3-5 shots, including both of his three-point attempts. He added five steals and three assists, but had six of his team's 22 turnovers while making the start at point guard with Robertson playing the two-guard spot to open the game. Hargrove hit 3-5 field goals off the bench and added six rebounds with four assists with no turnovers.

The Tigers, who had struggled with their shooting in previous outings including the two exhibition games, quickly built a 15-7 lead less than four minutes into the contest as Robertson completed an old-fashioned three-point play at the 16:08 mark.

For the game the Tigers hit a sizzling 57.9 percent from the field while the Rams made just 33.3 percent. The Tigers were 10-21 on threes and hit 19-28 free throws while Winston-Salem State hit 3-15 treys and 13-19 free throws.

Auburn out-rebounded the smaller Rams 42-36 and had one more turnover than the visitors.

Freshman Matt Heramb chipped in with six three pointers, three points, two assists and a blocked shot on a night where Lebo cleared the bench. Even walk-ons Drew Smith and Adam Luquire scored a basket.

"I thought we shot the ball much better," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "In the first half I was disappointed a little bit with our rebounding. They had 12 offensive rebounds in the first half and we had 13 turnovers. Some of them were charging and those kind of plays.

Jeff Lebo

"We played a lot of zone tonight, that extended zone, and that is difficult to rebound out of because we were really spread out," Lebo added. "That concerned me. They missed a lot of shots.

"Overall, I thought in the second half we did some good things, we moved the ball and passed the ball pretty well." One of those things Lebo liked in the second 20 minutes was the free throw shooting. The Tigers hit just 4-9 in the first half, but recovered to make 15-19 in the second period.

Winston-Salem coach Bobby Collins said, "I don't think we did a very good job of handling the pressure...They are a very talented basketball team. They have some individual athletes that are very talented. I thought they made basketball plays when we didn't."

The Tigers return to action at 2 p.m. on Sunday vs. visiting East Tennessee State.

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