Lebo's Tigers Looking for Reserve Power

Auburn faces Mississippi State in a Saturday afternoon home game.

Auburn, Ala.--A pair of slumping teams that appear to be jockeying for NIT postseason tournament consideration will be competing for a much needed win when they play a rematch on Saturday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Tipoff time is 1 p.m. as Auburn tries to bounce back from two straight SEC basketball losses against a Mississippi State that has lost four of its five games since beating Auburn 87-76 on Jan. 10th in Starkville.

Auburn coach Jeff Lebo's team hasn't shot well in losses to Ole Miss and Arkansas, it has turned the ball over 44 times in those two games and has had little help from the bench play.

"We haven't got much from them lately," Lebo says. "We aren't shooting the ball very well with the guys coming off the bench with the guards. If you look at conference play, (DeWayne) Reed is at 23 percent, Kelvin (Lewis) it is at 28 percent or 29 percent and Archie (Miaway) is at 10 percent in conference play."

The problem hit a new low in Auburn's 65-57 loss at Arkansas on Wednesday night as the Tigers finished the game with just two points and three rebounds from the reserves. "Somebody is going to have to be able to score the ball for us a little bit more consistently off the bench," Lebo says.

Auburn will bring a 14-11 overall mark into the SEC game and the Tigers are 4-6 in league play. The Bulldogs are 12-10 overall and 3-6 in the conference. Alabama is leading the SEC West at 5-4. Auburn has dropped from first to fourth in the last two games as the Tigers also trail 4-5 Ole Miss and 4-5 Arkansas.

Sophomore point guard Quantez Robertson says too many second half turnovers (11) at Arkansas doomed the Tigers to defeat on Wednesday night. "We got to within three and then we got the ball back and took a couple of bad, quick shots. They came down and got their offense set and made some key buckets and went back up by six or seven."

Robertson says the key to defeating Mississippi State is defensive play. "They have got great shooters in the Delk twins and the freshman (Barry Stewart). We have got to keep them from getting wide open shots and stop their inside presence and hopefully we will come out with a win."

Reginald Delk

Sophomore guard Reginald Delk is averaging 9.8 points and his brother Richard is averaging 6.4 while Stewart is scoring 10.9 points per game. Jamont Gordon, a 6-4, 225 sophomore guard, is the leading scoring and rebounder with 15.9 points and 7.4 boards per contest. Charles Rhodes, a 6-8, 240 junior forward, is averaging 12 points and six rebounds.

There is no TV coverage for Saturday's game, which is the last home game for the Tigers until Feb. 21st vs. Arkansas.

The Bulldogs lost on Wednesday night 80-79 at Alabama. "They present a lot of problems," Lebo says. "They play four guards a lot. They shoot the ball and get you spread out. When they are making threes they can score some points.

"I think their best scoring lineup is when they go small and then when they are small they can still post up (Charles) Rhodes inside who can score," Lebo adds. "They present a lot of matchup problems for you trying to defend them on the perimeter."

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