Tigers and Hogs in Need of Win

The Auburn men's basketball team travels to Fayetteville, Ark., for a noon Central tipoff on Saturday versus Arkansas. The game will be televised on Raycom Sports.

Auburn, Ala.—Auburn and Arkansas are both in need of a win on Saturday as the two Western Division teams try not to fall too far behind in the race for the SEC West.

The Tigers enter the contest at 11-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play coming off a 73-64 loss at Kentucky on Wednesday.

"It's difficult with the travel and then you add in the times of the games," Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo says of playing at Rupp Arena and Bud Walton Arena back-to-back. "You add in a very late game on Wednesday and a very early game on Saturday. A quick turnaround and travel, and the Arkansas travel time is a lot longer. It concerns me, and you're playing at the top places to play in the country."

Arkansas beat Top 10 Big 12 opponents Oklahoma and Texas prior to the start of conference, play, but the Razorbacks have dropped all three of their SEC contests. Arkansas is 12-4, but 10-1 playing at home.

"They've struggled a little bit in conference shooting the basketball," Lebo states. "They've got some pretty good shooters out there. (Rotnei) Clark is one of the top shooters in the country when he gets open. (Stefan) Welch is a guy that can score on the perimeter in droves. They've just had times the last three games where they've struggled from the perimeter. We hope they don't figure it out against us."

The leading scorer and rebounder for Arkansas is 6-9 forward Michael Washington, who is averaging 17.3 points and 10.3 boards.

"Washington is just terrific and he's having a great year," Lebo says. "He can score in a variety of ways. He can rebound the ball and he's a guy that I thought had pro potential coming out (of high school). He hardly played because of their size they had last year.

"It concerns me–his ability to score around the bucket," Lebo continues of Washington. "He's had huge games offensively. He's a very, very talented player. We've got to find ways to keep him off the glass, especially the offensive glass."

The second leading scorer is 5-11 guard Courtney Fortson, who grew up in Montgomery, Ala.

"Fortson is terrific," Lebo says. "He's got a motor, too. You talk about a guy that never stops, never fatigues and never gets tired. He's outstanding at getting into the paint, using his body, jumping into you, scoring in traffic. He kind of reminds me of bigger Devan Downey with his ability to get inside the paint and make you foul. He's a very good interior passer when he gets in there."

One of the top reserves for John Pelphrey is former football receiver Marcus Monk, who is averaging 4.5 points and 3.1 rebounds.


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