Tigers Hope To Avoid Atlantic Sun Burn

A preview of Auburn's Tuesday night home opener vs. Kennesaw State is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--After a disappointing opening night performance at Tulane on Friday, Jeff Lebo's Auburn basketball Tigers will look to even their record as they take on Kennesaw State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

It is the first ever matchup of the Tigers and the Owls, a Division I program from Georgia that plays in the Atlantic Sun Conference, the same league featuring the Gardner-Webb team that defeated SEC power Kentucky 84-68 last week.

Other Atlantic Sun teams that have grabbed attention with wins over high-profile programs in the past week include Belmont defeating Cincinnati 86-75 and Mercer whipping Southern Cal 96-81.

Lebo was concerned about his team's shooting prior to its 77-62 loss to the Green Wave and that is still a concern. "What we have to worry about with them is whether we can get good shots against their pressure man-to-man defense," the Auburn coach says. "We have to put the ball in the basket much better than we did against Tulane."

Kennesaw State is also looking to play better than it did in its opener. While Auburn was losing in New Orleans last Friday, the Owls fell 96-61 at Bowling Green, Ky., to Western Kentucky.

Kennesaw State was 9-9 in the Atlantic Sun Conference last year and has three starters back from that team. Shaun Stegall, a 6-7, 220 senior from Atlanta who transferred from Nebraska, led the Owls in game one with 13 points and nine rebounds. Keonte Keith, a 6-5, 210 sophomore from Jefferson, Ga., scored 10 points and added six rebounds.

Lebo says he is impressed with 6-4 senior guard Ronnell Wooten from Statesboro, Ga., who scored just five points in the opener. "He was all-conference and he is very, very talented," the coach notes. "He struggled in his last game. We have to do a good job defending him. They did not shoot the ball very well in their first game against Western Kentucky. I am really worried about them coming in and making shots."

After Tuesday's night game, the Tigers won't play at home again until Dec. 19th when Mercer comes to Auburn. The Tigers will play five straight road games before facing Mercer starting with a Friday night contest at Alabama State.

Lebo notes that he went heavy on the pre-conference road games when setting up the 2007-2008 schedule to earn brownie points with the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, which has made that a point of emphasis for choosing teams for this year's tournament. However, Lebo notes that he did that before knowing that junior forward Josh Dollard would be out for the year and that senior forward Quan Prowell would be suspended for the exhibition game and the first five regular season contests and that senior guard Archie Miaway would be academically ineligible.

Lebo is expected to go with his game one starting lineup featuring guards Quantez Robertson, Rasheem Barrett, DeWayne Reed and Frank Tolbert along with forward Korvotney Barber.


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