This Time Defense The Key For Hoops Victory

<!--Default For Auburn is to ignore-->Auburn, Ala.--Solid defense in both halves was the key for Auburn as the Tigers cruised to a 72-56 exhibition men's basketball victory over the EA Sports All-Stars on Friday night.

Playing a different starting lineup without injured main man Marquis Daniels available, Auburn got scoring from eight players, with four finishing in double figures, on the way to the victory at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

The visitors got 16 points from pro forward Aaron Swinson, the former All-SEC player for the Tigers, but Auburn kept the rest of the All-Stars in check. EA Sports managed to score just 28 points in each half and hit just 33.9 percent from the field.

Auburn, which came out hot shooting in its first exhibition win last week, struggled from the field in the first half, making just 38.1 percent of its shots. The Tigers warmed up in the second half and made 48 percent to finish at 41.8 percent from the game.

"I was very pleased with the way Auburn played," said Swinson, who is touring with EA Sports to get in game shape before he heads back to Europe to play professional ball. Swinson noted that he still followed the Tigers closely and has high hopes for the university's success in basketball.

Aaron Swinson (31), who finished at Auburn after the 1993-94 season, blocks out in the lane.

Swinson, a 6-4 forward, hit his first six shots in the first half, but Auburn did a good job denying him the basketball in the later stages of the first half and the entire second half. He finished the night getting just 10 shots and he made seven. "They did what they were supposed to do on defense," Swinson said.

Newcomer Troy Gaines matched Swinson for high point honors. Gaines played two guard and started in place of Daniels, who is out of action for several days with a shin splints injury. He should be ready to go for Auburn's regular season opener on Friday, Nov. 22nd vs. visiting Wofford.

"I got some wide open shots," said Gaines, who noted that picks by teammates got him open as he hit five of eight three-pointers. A combo guard who played the point last week, he moved to the two guard position on Friday and noted that it is a lot easier to score from that position than it is as a point guard. "At the point, you are always looking to get the ball to the open person," Gaines said.

Sophomore guard Troy Gaines led the Tigers in scoring.

Center Kyle Davis and forward Marco Killingsworth each scored 14 points and Derrick Bird added 13 as Ellis used a three-guard lineup. Killingsworth and Bird tied for game high rebounding honors with eight apiece while Davis added seven.

Davis, who was a horrible free throw shooter last year, made both of his tries at the foul line as the team hit nine of 11. Last year, the Tigers shot free throws so poorly that it cost the team several potential victories. "We have been shooting a 100 free throws a day and as you can see it is paying off," Davis said.

The only starter who did not have a good night offensively was point guard Lewis Monroe, who hit just two of eight shots while finishing with five points. However, he did avoid making mistakes. He had five assists with just one turnover in 31 minutes.

The Tigers again played without sophomore forward Brandon Robinson, who has still not been cleared for game action by Auburn. Freshman guard Steve Leven was not scheduled to play because of bone spurs and an Achilles problem, however, he tried to go and struggled. He was just one of five from the field and had five turnovers and four assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

Center/forward Rodney Tucker added six points and six rebounds in reserve duty and won praise from Coach Cliff Ellis.

"That was a very physical basketball game," said Ellis, who added that he liked the way his big men responded to the challenge. "Marco and Kyle stepped it up," he said. "They were mixing it up with guy who know what the game is all about."

Ellis added that he expected the Tigers to struggle without Daniels and Robinson available, but said that Auburn's success without two key players should give the team confidence going into the regular season.

D.J. Harrison, a 6-7 forward from Colorado, scored 11 points for EA Sports. Auburn shut out former Kansas star and NBA player Adonis Jordan and didn't allow any other EA Sports players to score in double figures in addition to Harrison and Swinson.


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories