Auburn has dominated its basketball series vs. USM, winning 11 of the previous 12 meetings. Cliff Ellis is 6-0 vs. USM as head coach of the Tigers and AU is 8-0 all-time in games vs. the Golden Eagles played at AU.
Auburn ran through a weak field in Puerto Rico Dec. 20-22 to win the San Juan Shootout. The Tigers defeated Troy State 94-66 in the finals of the eight-team event. USM defeated Arkansas--Little Rock 70-54 in its last game back on the 21st of December.
A name familiar to Tiger basketball fans will be in the lineup for Coach James Green. Former Auburn signee Greg Johnson, a six-foot-six forward from Central High in Phenix City and Southern Union Junior College in Wadley, is averaging 12.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The junior never made it to Auburn because of academic shortcomings.
USM's leading scorer is 6-7, 220 junior forward Charles Gaines, who is averaging 17.2 points per game and 9.3 rebounds.
Auburn is led by San Juan Shootout MVP Marquis Daniels, a senior who is averaging 20.1 points per game, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Sophomore Marco Killingsworth is averaging 16.7 points per game and 6.8 rebounds. The Tigers are scheduled to again go with the three-guard lineup they used in Puerto Rico with Derrick Bird (10.2 points per game) joining Lewis Monroe (5.8 points, 3.2 assists) and Nathan Watson (10.8 points).