More Firepower For Tigers As Prowell Suits Up

Furman transfer Quan Prowell suits up for the first time Tuesday night as the Auburn Tigers take on Tennessee State.

Auburn, Ala.--It took 11 games but Auburn Coach Jeff Lebo will finally get to see his team at full strength as Quan Prowell's debut as a Tiger Tuesday night gives the Tigers the entire squad to work with for the first time this season.

While Kelvin Lewis is still slowed and played sparingly in his first college game against Wofford last Saturday, Prowell's addition gives extra muscle and firepower to an Auburn team that is playing solid basketball heading into the homestretch before SEC play begins. With a record of 8-3 the Tigers have won four of their last five outings and could add to that total Tuesday night when they take on Tennessee State (4-4) at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

The task won't be an easy one though as Tennessee State comes in already 2-0 in the tough Ohio Valley Conference with victories over Southeast Missouri State and Eastern Illinois. Playing a tough schedule this season with games against Alabama, Kansas and Western Kentucky among the opponents, Tennessee State won't be overwhelmed by the Tigers of the SEC and features an imposing front line that should match up well with Auburn.

"Tennessee State is picked second in the OVC, and they have an experienced, older team," Lebo says. "They start three seniors and two juniors. The strength of their team is inside. They have Clarence Matthews inside, and Larry Turner, who is a transfer from Georgia and a sixth-year guy. He'll be a factor. We have to make the quick change to play a different style in Tennessee State. They are very athletic, too. They have had 10 days off in preparation for us so I know they will be ready to play."

Leading the charge for the TSU Tigers is the massive Matthews. The 6-7, 250 senior is averaging 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He gets interior help from a talented freshman in Turner. At 6-11, 240, Turner uses his size to average eight points and 9.4 rebounds per contest.

TSU's only other player averaging double figures is guard Ladarius Weaver. The six-footer averages 13.6 points and 2.4 assists per game.

Prowell's addition to Auburn's team gives Lebo yet another athletic big man to join forces with the improving Korvotney Barber and Josh Dollard in the paint for the Tigers. An athletic 6-8 swing man who can play inside and out, Prowell is a transfer from Furman who averaged 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore for the Paladins after winning conference freshman of the year honors a year earlier. Lebo says his addition really makes the Tigers a more versatile team.

"He is a very good athlete," Lebo says of Prowell, who was suspended from games due to an unspecified violation of team rules. Prowell has been able to practice with the team, but not play in games.

"He can run like a gazelle," Lebo says. "He can play small forward, and he can put the ball on the floor. He is an adequate shooter from the perimeter. He posts up a little bit, but it isn't the strength of his game. The strength of his game is slashing and running, and he makes pretty good decisions with his size.

"He will play the three for us some when we want to go bigger. He will play the four for us and occasionally can play the five. I can see him playing more three-four for us. The guy is pretty versatile. He is pretty similar to what we have right now. Obviously, his physical nature and experience, even though it's been awhile back, will help us tremendously."

Korvotney Barber slams one home in a recent game.

With Prowell now available it puts less pressure on Korvotney Barber and Josh Dollard to carry the inside load, but so far they've mostly been up to the task. Averaging 14.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, Barber leads the Tigers in scoring with Dollard not far behind at 12.2 points while his 8.2 rebounds is tops on the club.

All five of Auburn's starters average in double figures as sophomore Rasheem Barrett is second on the club in scoring at 14.1 points while also pulling down 5.1 rebounds.

Junior Frank Tolbert (13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds) does the dirty work for the Tigers while sophomore point guard Quantez Robertson is the glue that holds it all together. He averages 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game and just missed a triple double the last time out with 14 points, eight rebounds and eightassists against Wofford.

The tipoff for Tuesday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. After Tuesday's game the Tigers return to action Friday at 7 p.m. when they take on 13th-ranked Texas A&M at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. It will be Auburn's fourth game against a ranked opponent this season. Auburn's first three ranked opponents are a combined 33-2 with Pittsburgh's only loss coming at Wisconsin. Oklahoma State remains unbeaten. All three are currently ranked in the Top 15 in the country. Friday's game will be televised live on Comcast Sports Southeast.

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