Sophomore, Freshman Duos Lead AU Rout of TSU

Auburn, Ala.--Jeff Lebo was able to clear the bench early for Auburn's most lopsided basketball victory of the season as his Tigers overwhelmed Tennessee State 86-59 Tuesday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Auburn won its third straight game and improved to 9-3 as Lebo played everybody but the waterboy. Fourteen Tigers saw action on a night in which a pair of sophomore forwards stood out.

Korvotney Barber scored a game-leading 17 points and added nine rebounds, five blocks, one assist and one steal in 23 minutes of action.

Josh Dollard played 29 minutes and finished with a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He also added seven assists.

Josh Dollard takes a jumper for the Tigers.

Commenting on Barber, who struggled offensively as a freshman, Lebo said, "He's gotten better. He has scored about as many points now (this season) as he did all last year. He is taking high percentage shots. I think if he had caught a couple of balls he would have had 23 or 24 points tonight.

"He is leaving some points on the foul line (five of nine), but he is getting better," Lebo added. "He has made a positive jump there. We have still got to get him better defensively. He hasn't learned how to block shots with the correct hand."

A pair of freshman guards were impressive, too. Texans DeWayne Reed and Kelvin Lewis came off the bench to spark the Tigers.

Playing in just his second game since suffering a preseason stress fracture in his foot, Lewis scored 10 points, added two assists and had just one turnover in 19 minutes. Reed was even better. He scored eight points, added five assists, two steals and a block without a turnover in 21 minutes.

"They played pretty well," Lebo said of the guards. "We wanted to get Kelvin some minutes and we did and I thought he passed the ball well. DeWayne Reed made some terrific decisions on the break. Reed in the last two games is 10-0 assists to turnovers.

"They played us a lot of zone," Lebo noted. "We had 26 assists. We passed the ball well. We made the extra pass. I don't think we really shot the ball great, but we moved the ball and got the open looks and we were unselfish. About a week ago we started passing the ball better. We haven't played against severe heat, which we are going to get the next game (vs. Texas A&M), so we will see how we do there."

Korvotney Barber dunks for the Tigers.

The game was the Auburn debut of transfer Quan Prowell. The junior, who was suspended prior to Tuesday night, came off the bench and played nine minutes before fouling out. He was 3-6 from the field, going 0-3 on treys. He finished with six points, three rebounds, two turnovers and a blocked shot.

"I had a couple of jitterbugs," Prowell said. "I got them out pretty soon and got back in the flow of things. It was just unfortunate I had to foul out. I felt like a couple of them (foul calls) were pretty bad. Sometimes that is how the ball bounces. It felt just great being with the team on game day instead of being off to the side.

"Hopefully, next game I will be back to normal," Prowell added. "It may take a couple of games to get back into the flow of things. I have been sitting out a long time."

Lewis, who made his Auburn debut on Saturday, made obvious improvement in game two. "It felt pretty good," he said. "I had a whole bunch of confidence coming in because we finally had everybody back and practice has been great. We came out really hard. We had energy and that is what helped us get this win."

Lewis said he isn't back to 100 percent yet. "Almost," he noted. "Almost. In a couple more weeks I will be full speed."

Lebo noted it was good to have 11 healthy scholarship players for the first time. "We had some depth out there," the coach said. "It was nice to see Quan and Kelvin back out there. Quan played only nine minutes in the game, but he had a couple of tough calls I thought. He played pretty well, I thought, for not playing in a long period of time. He had three rebounds and they looked good. From where I was sitting they looked manly and that was nice to see.

"Kelvin is slowly getting back into it. He is the one who it is hardest to come back because he has been out of practice for about three or four weeks.

"It was nice to have some decisions to make on the bench," Lebo added. "I told the guys in practice the last couple of days we are going to be back to full steam here and if you don't get out there and perform, execute and give me some defense, you are going to have to sit. That is the first time that we have had that here. That is nice to have. I think they will get better that way. It's not being mean."

The Tigers got 12 points from Frank Tolbert as they shot 48.5 percent from the field to 33.9 for TSU, which fell to 4-5.

The Tigers turned the ball over just 11 times, 10 fewer than the visitors. AU hit 11-34 threes while TSU made 6-18. Auburn was 11-19 on free throws to 15-26 for Tennessee State. TSU won the battle on the boards 42-41.

Tennessee State scored first, but Auburn took the lead on a three-pointer by Tolbert and never trailed after that.

At the 16:21 mark of the first half Prowell, a transfer from Furman, made his Auburn debut. At the 11:19 mark he got into the scorebook with a layup basket as he was fouled to give the Tigers a 19-11 lead.

The Tigers stretched the margin into double figures for the first time at the 9:29 mark on a basket by Barber. The largest lead of the half was 14 at the 3:42 mark on a three-pointer from the wing by freshman Kelvin Lewis.

At halftime the Tigers led 39-28 as Lebo used 11 players vs. the Ohio Valley Conference team. Barber led the pack with 12 points and four rebounds for the Tigers.

At the break the Tigers were shooting 44.1 percent to 38.5 for the visitors, but trailed on the boards 20-18.

Auburn steadily built its lead in the second half and was never threatened as the Tigers hit 53.1 percent of their shots after intermission.

The Tigers return to action on Friday with a 7 p.m. home game against 13th-ranked Texas A&M.

Box Score


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