Tigers Hoping to Avoid Getting Stung at ASU

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn men's basketball team begins a five-game and more than a month long stretch without a home game with a trip to Montgomery to play the Alabama State Hornets on Friday at 7 p.m.

The Tigers also have road trips in the state of Alabama in the upcoming weeks against West Virginia in Birmingham on Dec. 5 and versus Southern in Mobile on Dec. 15.

"There are a couple of things that go into this," says head coach Jeff Lebo of the long stretch without a home game. "We wanted to get around the state and play a little bit. We didn't know at the time when we were doing that schedule if we were going to be playing in the SEC/Big East Challenge (vs. WVU) or not.

"We did want to try to play around the state a little bit and we have players from different parts that we'd like to travel, and it's also hard (for the fans) to get here in December," Lebo adds. "Our crowds haven't been great in December and November.

"The other thing is we want to be able to go on the road some," he continues. "We wanted to play on the road a little bit early, and I thought I was going to have to have the type of team to go on the road and compete. Of course, you schedule sometimes and not know what lies ahead of you."

Junior Rasheem Barrett is the Tigers' leading scorer through two games with 14.0 points followed by Korvotney Barber at 11.5 ppg.

Auburn is 1-1 on the season with a 77-62 loss at Tulane and a 74-62 victory over Kennesaw State on Tuesday.

Alabama State is 2-0 with a home victory over Paul Quinn and a 64-54 road win at SMU.

"They're a very good and athletic team," says Auburn guard Quantez Robertson. "They're an in-state team, they're 2-0 and they've won on the road.

"We just have to be a lot more patient on the road than we were in the past and just take our time and execute on offense," Robertson adds. "We have to slow it down and try not to turn the ball over so much."

An interesting match-up is the play of Auburn freshman Boubacar Sylla against Hornet center Chief Kickingstallionsims. Sylla injured an ankle against Kennesaw State but returned to practice on Thursday.

"We're hoping he can play because this will be a game where he can play against another big guy, which would be helpful to him," Lebo says of Sylla. "Alabama State is extremely athletic. They got a road win at SMU under their belt already, they defend very well, they're athletic at every spot and in their man-to-man they really get out and defend.

"We're playing on the road and they're laying and waiting for us over there," Lebo continues. "It's going to be a tough environment for us to play in and it's down the road. I talked to my team. With everything that's happened to us everybody is licking their chops and everybody looks at us and says, ‘Hey, we can beat this team.' So we'll get their best shot when we go down there."

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CST at the Joe L. Reed Acadome.

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