Auburn Confuses USC Defense, Coach Says

A report on the Auburn at South Carolina basketball game is featured.

Columbia, S.C.--South Carolina basketball coach Dave Odom said that Auburn's strong start played a big role in the Tigers' 80-75 SEC victory over the hometown Gamecocks on Wednesday night at the Colonial Center.

Odom noted Auburn's 38-19 rebounding edge was one of the factors in the game, but wasn't necessarily the biggest difference. "That is a little misleading in that they didn't miss many shots for us to rebound whereas we didn't shoot the percentage they shot so there were more rebounds on their end than ours," he said. "Still, getting doubled like that is unacceptable.

"The biggest difference in this basketball game was in the first eight minutes," Odom added. "We couldn't stop them They made some offensive adjustments against our style of man to man and kept springing people lose underneath the basket. For whatever reason, for lack of a better description, we were confused. I am not sure exactly why.

"The things they did we have seen this year," Odom said. "We haven't necessarily seen them out of Auburn, but we have seen them. We should have made a better adjustment than that.

"We tried zone and that didn't do any good. Sometimes when you let the horse out of the barn like, he just keeps running, and we never did get a handle on the game defensively."

Auburn, which improved to 14-9 overall and 4-4 in the SEC, nearly lost a nine-point lead in the second half. The Gamecocks cut the lead to two points in the final minute and had a golden opportunity when Quantez Robertson missed a foul shot. However, Frank Tolbert got the rebound for the Tigers, who cashed in on their second chance to score as the junior guard made two free throws with 32 seconds left.

Odom said the Gamecocks, who had their two-game SEC winning streak snapped, had a chance to pull out the game at that point. "It was huge because we were only down two at the time," he said of Tolbert's play when he saved the possession by throwing the ball off of Brandon Wallace as the Auburn guard was falling out of bounds.

"I think we had four guys on the lane and they only had one and they still got it," Odom said. "When the door is open like that and you can't cash in that opportunity, it is a sign it is not your night."

South Carolina, which got a career-high 21 points from Evalchus Baniulis, fell to 12-8 overall and 2-5 in the SEC as Auburn became the first SEC West team to win a road game this season vs. an SEC East team.

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