Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m. for just the second ever meeting in men's hoops between the two teams. Last December in Auburn, the Tigers took a 67-56 decision vs. the Bulldogs as Korvotney Barber scored 19 points for the Tigers and Rasheem Barrett chipped in with a dozen points.
This season the Tigers bring a 7-4 record into the contest and haven't played since a Dec. 22nd 77-72 victory over Alabama State, which plays in the SWAC, the same conference that Alabama A&M represents.
Alabama A&M is 2-5 and has been off since losing 83-60 at Western Kentucky on Dec. 21st. Auburn will be the third SEC opponent for the Bulldogs this season. Alabama defeated Alabama A&M 64-56 and Vanderbilt took a 78-55 decision.
"We are playing another athletic team from the state so I think any time you play teams from your own state they certainly get excited to play you and play some of their best basketball against you," Lebo says. "We fully expect a great showing from them."
Coach Vann Pettaway's Bulldogs are led by 5-10 junior guard Trant Simpson from Huntsville. He is averaging 15.7 points and 4.1 assists per contest.
Cornelius Hester, a 6-3 junior guard from Mobile, is averaging 12.1 points per game and 6-5 freshman forward Casey Cantey from Demopolis is averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds.
John Smith, a 6-6, 260 senior center, is the leading rebounder at 7.9 per game, which is also his scoring average.
The game, which will be televised regionally by CSS, is the first of three games in six days for the Tigers. On New Year's Eve the Tigers will play a 5 p.m. game vs. Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane will be in Auburn on Jan. 3rd for a 5 p.m. tipoff before the Tigers start SEC play on Jan. 10th at South Carolina.
Auburn is scoring 70.5 points per game and allowing 61.6 per contest.
"We have to find a way to play offense consistently," Lebo says. "Defensively, we have been pretty solid for the most part, but we have to get a little better there."
Coach Jeff Lebo
Barber leads the Tigers in scoring at 13.3 points per contest and is the top rebounder with 7.3 per contest. Tay Waller is scoring 12.6 per game and DeWayne Reed is averaging 11.4 points and 4.1 assists per game.
Auburn Basketball Notes: Alabama A&M's Pettaway is in his 23rd season as a head coach and has a career record of 423-234 with all of the games at the Huntsville school...Former Auburn head coach Sonny Smith will be the color analyst for the TV broadcast called by Paul Crane...Former Auburn women's basketball coach Joe Ciampi will be the color analyst for the Auburn Network's radio broadcast featuring play by play man Rod Bramblett...Alabama A&M and Auburn have a common opponent this season. The Bulldogs defeated Tuskegee 80-72 while Auburn defeated Tuskegee 75-32...Former Auburn assistant coach Sammy Jackson is an assistant for Alabama A&M.