Tigers Get Offensive In Win Over Global Sports

The Auburn basketball Tigers put forth a solid all-around performance in a 90-70 win over the Global Sports All-Stars Thursday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Auburn, Ala.--Junior center Kyle Davis scored 19 points and was a perfect seven-of-seven from the free throw line to lead four Auburn players in double figures as the Tigers opened the exhibition season Thursday night with an easy 90-70 win over the Global Sports All-Stars.

Senior Marquis Daniels chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds while true freshman Steve Leven added 15 as Auburn broke open a 12-point halftime lead by outscoring Global 10-2 in the first five minutes of the second half. Coach Cliff Ellis said following that he was happy to see how well his team played in the opening game of the season.

"This early playing a team as talented as they were I'm really pleasantly surprised," Ellis said. "I didn't know we would play that well. We played about as well as I've had a team play in an exhibition game this early. That's a tribute to the offseason. I can see more strength and power, working on fundamentals. These guys that we played tonight are probably as proven as any exhibition team we could play. High quality players that are extremely talented and our defense did a great job in the second half of shutting them down."

Point guard Lewis Monroe contributed six assists without a turnover.

While the second half defense was important, the story of the game was an Auburn offense that seemed to be clicking on all cylinders from the first shot until the final buzzer. For the game the Tigers shot 56.1 percent from the floor, including 52.9 percent from three-point range. Add in a solid 7-of-10 night from the free throw line and you get a team confident on the offensive end after struggling there much of last season.

"That was a big concentration for us in the offseason," Daniels said of being more consistent on the offensive end. "We had some games where we had six-minute droughts where we didn't score. We concentrated on that and we were getting down screening, getting people open. We had a lot of one-on-one plays. This year it's paying off and everyone is getting involved."

Leading by 12 at the half, the Tigers came out smoking in the second stanza as two Derrick Bird baskets in the first minute of play extended the lead to 58-42 over the visitors, a team filled with former college players from around the country. Sophomore point guard Lewis Monroe drove to the basket for another quick two after one of Auburn's 12 steals and that forced Global to take a timeout trailing by eight.

Auburn freshman Steve Leven checks Erik Martin (34), a former Cincinnati Bearcat forward.

It wouldn't help things as Auburn continued to pour it on with Daniels scoring five of the next seven points to build the lead up to 67-47. The Tigers would cruise the rest of the way with Leven and Davis filling it up down the stretch. Davis was particularly tough on Global with eight points in a five-minute stretch, including back-to-back trips to the free throw line where he made two straight both times. Auburn eventually built the lead to 24 and kept it out of reach the entire way on the way to the 20-point win.

In addition to Davis, Daniels and Leven, Bird was the other Tiger in double figures with 10 points on four-of-five shooting. Marco Killingsworth scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds while Monroe and Rodney Tucker scored six points each. Former Cincinnati star Antwan Jones led Global with 17 points while former Ole Miss point guard Jason Harrison added 13 and Miami big man Dwayne Wimbley chipped in with 11. Georgia's Anthony Evans added eight points and three rebounds.

While his offense wasn't overwhelming, Ellis said he was pleased with the way Monroe ran the team. That is important for the Tigers because it allows Daniels to remain on the wing, where he is a threat to every team Auburn will face this season.

"He ran the team," Ellis said. "He has six assists and no turnovers. He played great defense. As a point guard when you look at those numbers you'll take six assists and no turnovers. He kept the club playing and he did an excellent job. He's one of those like Doc (Robinson). He's a big point guard and he's got that strength. He runs the team and you can tell he's gotten stronger. You can see it in his game."

The first half was an exhibition in offense for the Auburn Tigers as they scored 54 points on the way to a 12-point halftime lead. Early on it was the play of Daniels that spurred Auburn as his basket after a Monroe pass gave the Tigers a quick 8-0 lead just 1:28 into the game. From that point forward the points game in bunches from both teams as Killingsworth and Davis scored the next eight Auburn points while former Georgia player Anthony Evans scored two baskets and Rahim Lockhart one as the Tigers built a 16-6 lead on Global.

Ellis went to the bench at that time sending Tucker and Leven into the game for their first action in an Auburn uniform. Both responded without any nerves as Tucker quickly dropped in consecutive baskets before a long Leven three-pointer from the left wing gave the Tigers a 23-16 lead.

Following baskets from Ole Miss's Rahim Lockhart and Wimbley, Davis showed his improved offensive form with a basket and free throw and then two more free throws the next time down court to give Auburn an eight-point advantage once again. After a Jones basket cut the lead to just three minutes later, the Tigers would go on a serious run over a span of four minutes. Led by two more Leven three-pointers and two Bird threes, Auburn built the lead back to eight with 3:50 left in the half.

At the time the Tigers were 18-of-26 from the floor and 6-of-8 from three-point land. Two late Daniels baskets, including a thunderous dunk, made the halftime score 54-42 in favor of the Tigers. Davis led the way in the first half with 11 points while Leven added nine and Daniels eight. Jones was the leading scorer for Global in the first half with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

The Tigers are off until November 15 when they are hosts to the EA Sports All-Stars in the final exhibition game of the season. They open the regular season one week later when they play Wofford in the second game of a doubleheader following the women's season opener against Troy State. Tip-off for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m.


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