Ranked Vandy Next for Lebo's Tigers

Auburn's basketball team hits the road for a Saturday contest in Nashville.

Auburn, Ala.--After suffering one of its most disappointing losses of the season, Jeff Lebo's Auburn basketball team faces a challenging road test on Saturday as the Tigers try to Gym the first team to win at Vanderbilt's Memorial court this season.

Tipoff time is 4 p.m. CST in Nashville where the 17-4 Commodores await. Auburn, 12-7 overall and 2-4 in the SEC, is coming off an 81-80 homecourt loss to LSU. Vandy, which is also 2-4 in the league, is trying to bounce back from a 74-56 loss at Ole Miss on Wednesday night.

"They are a team that is ranked, a team that has really played well, especially early in the season," Lebo says of the Commodores, who are 18th and 19th in the major polls.

The Commodores are led by 6-6 senior forward Shan Foster, who is scoring 19.2 points per game, and 6-11 freshman center A.J. Ogilvy, an Australian who is averaging 17.7 points and 6.5 rebounds.

Senior Alex Gordon, a 6-0, 170 senior guard, is scoring 10.5 points per game and dishing out 3.2 assists.

"They are a team that can beat you from the three-point line," Lebo says. "Foster is as good as anybody in the country shooting the basketball. He is a senior and has been through it and Alex Gordon is a senior guard. Those two guys can really, really score and shoot the ball from the perimeter and then Ogilvy is one of the top freshmen in the country."

The other Vandy starters are 6-9, 240 senior Ross Neltner, who is averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds, along with 6-3 sophomore guard Jermaine Beal, who is averaging 7.9 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Senior guard Quantez Robertson notes that the Tigers are playing well enough offensively to be successful in the SEC, but adds that in the last two games, losses to Alabama and LSU, the defense has been the issue. "We have just got to step it up a little bit harder on defense and make their shooters into drivers, something they are not used to doing and get them out of their game a little bit," Robertson says.

Lebo agrees with Robertson on what the Tigers need to improve. "Offensively, we have really done some good things," the coach says. "Defensively, we have some limitations, but we have got to be able to defend a little bit better. We have got to be able to defend guys who are the other team's best players a little bit better."

Korvotney Barber

Basketball Notes: In addition to Australian Ogilvy, the Commodores count on another basketball player from the British Commonwealth. Alan Metcalfe, a 6-9, 265 senior from St. Helens, England, averages 6.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in a reserve role...Vandy has more height on the bench in 6-7 freshman Darshawn McClellan from Fresno, Calif., who is averaging 3.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game...Lebo says the injury update on junior forward Korvotney Barber is not encouraging. AU's leading scorer is not healing as fast as hoped while recovering from a broken bone in his hand suffered on Dec. 29th. There is a chance he could miss the rest of the season, Lebo notes. If that happens, AU will apply for a hardship medical redshirt, but his last outing vs. Towson State, although he was in the contest only briefly before being injured, put him over the limit for games played to fit the medical hardship guidelines that say a player must not play in more than 30 percent of the games to be considered for an extra year of eligibility....Senior Frank Tolbert, who has played all five positions this year for the Tigers, is playing through several nagging injuries including an ankle problem that has been limiting his court time this week...Lebo says he is pleased with the way sophomore Lucas Hargrove has bounced back from a broken bone in his wrist and played with confidence both offensively and defensively. "He was very weak when he came in," Lebo says Lebo, who adds, "but he is a tough kid and he will stick his nose in there. He is not going to back away."..The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net.


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