Dollard Makes Immediate Impact for Tigers

Josh Dollard's return to the Auburn basketball team was felt in his first game back for Jeff Lebo's Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Josh Dollard hadn't played a game for the Auburn basketball team since a Feb. 26th contest vs. LSU last season, but in his return to action he found ways to contribute to his team's 92-87 overtime victory over Nicholls State.

The 6-7 sophomore forward came back from a suspension for violation of team rules. Without Dollard, a team already lacking in size and inside depth, had to go with lineups featuring three guards, four guards and at times the Tigers played five guards at the same time.

After a slow go-with-the-flow start, Dollard contributed to his team's fifth victory of the season with 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 25 minutes of action as a reserve.

The sophomore wasn't much of a factor in the first half. He played 11 minutes, didn't take a shot and pulled in two rebounds. However, that was partly by design. The sophomore notes that he didn't feel in sync in the first half, but got more comfortable later in the game.

Commenting on his first half performance, Dollard says, "I tried to go out there and not do too much--just work my way into the game, just go out there and make easy plays and do what I can do to help the team in any way.

"I am just trying to get back into the rhythm of the game," he says. "It has been a long time since I played."

Commenting on the second half in which the Tigers rallied from a 17-point deficit to win in overtime, Dollard says, "Once I started making a couple of shots I got into the game a little bit more and my team started to pick me up. We started to get rowdy and played defense harder. The crowd was behind us so I got into the game."

Sophomore guard Quantez Robertson says that having Dollard back on the court will take some of the pressure off Korvotney Barber, who has had to carry the load both offensively and defensively as the only big man to see significant playing time the first six games with both Dollard and Quan Prowell out with suspensions.

Robertson notes that he likes the fact that Dollard gives the Tigers another scoring threat around the basket. "He can also step out and shoot threes and little middle-range jump shots so that helps, too," Robertson adds.

Coach Jeff Lebo notes that he told Dollard to not force things his first game back. The sophomore says he followed his coach's advice. "I just tried not to do too much," he says. "I just tried to get into the flow of the game and let the game come to me. I didn't want to go out there and rush anything, and I just stayed into the team chemistry."

Lebo says that despite some defensive lapses and getting fatigued too quickly, having Dollard back in the mix was a positive for the team, especially with his offensive skills.

Dollard notes that after sitting out six regular season games and both exhibition contests, it was a relief to finally be able to contribute in a game.

"It feels good to be back with the team," he says. "I sat out and watched them play hard and play their hearts out fighting game by game so it feels good to be back to help them out to win."

Dollard will try to help his team win two more times this week. On Thursday at 7 p.m. Louisiana-Monroe will visit Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum and on Sunday at 2 p.m. the Pitt Panthers, who are ranked as high as number two nationally, will visit Auburn.

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories