Junior center Kyle Davis says that won't be easy, but notes that he is looking forward to his team's road trip to Columbia to face the South Carolina Gamecocks at the new 17,600-seat Carolina Center. On Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark., the Tigers won for just the second time in a dozen trips to Arkansas as they defeated the Razorbacks 52-37.
"That win built up our confidence and let us know that we can win on the road," says Davis, a 6-10, 235-pounder who returned to the starting lineup vs. the Razorbacks. "It let us know that if we play hard we can achieve anything that we put our mind to."
Kyle Davis is playing an average of 22.3 minutes per game, mostly as a starter.
Last season, the Tigers generally played well defensively, but lost a lot of close games because of a lack of scoring firepower. This year, despite the low scoring game at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday, the Tigers are averaging 77.9 points and hitting 51.1 percent of their field goals, a statistic they have led at the national level on and off during the 2002-2003 season. "We are making the extra pass on offense and going out there and playing with dedication and heart," Davis says.
That formula has helped the Tigers off to a 13-2 start, which ties them with Florida, Notre Dame, Creighton and Butler for the most wins of any team in the country. Auburn is 2-0 in the SEC. After the first week of the conference season, the Tigers and two teams from the SEC East, Florida and Kentucky, are the only ones without a loss.
South Carolina is 1-1 in the league and 7-5 overall. The Gamecocks defeated visiting Ole Miss 55-49 and lost at Kentucky 62-55 on Saturday.
"I remember their posts because they have a couple of strong guys," says Davis, who will be matched up against 6-10, 260 senior center Tony Kitchings. "They have a couple of athletic guys and a couple of guys who can shoot the three. We are going to have to continue to play hard.
"The Arkansas win is very satisfying because it is the first time we have ever won at Bud Walton Arena and it was our first road win since last year," Davis adds. "It let us know that we have to play hard every second of every game."
Tiger Ticket Extra: Davis says he was excited to return the starting lineup vs. the Razorbacks. He has started 12 of Auburn's 15 games. Davis is currently averaging 8.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per contest. He is closing in on Mamadou N'diaye's Auburn career blocked shots record of 241. Davis has 228...Auburn is shooting for the 1,100 victory in school history at Arkansas. The Tigers have lost 942...Auburn is going for back-to-back conference road victories for the first time since winning at Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina in the SEC Championship season of 1998-99...Auburn has won seven-in-a-row this season and has a five-game winning streak vs. South Carolina going into Wednesday's 6:30 p.m. CST contest.