Auburn Preparing to Make a (Home) Stand

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn University basketball Tigers will try to bounce back from two tough road losses and solidify their lead in the SEC West with a three-game home stand that starts with a Saturday contest vs. the Tennessee Volunteers.

The Tigers played well last Saturday in Athens before losing 85-79 to the Georgia Bulldogs, a team ranked 15th this week. That loss, coupled with a road loss at Kentucky earlier in the week, knocked the Tigers out of the Top 25 and dropped their record to 4-2 in the SEC and 15-4 overall.

"The Georgia kids made some plays," says Auburn coach Cliff Ellis. "We took away Ezra Williams and (Jarvis) Hayes towards the end and they had some guys who stepped up and hit some big shots. That happens. You just congratulate them and move on."

Moving on means extra time this week to polish fundamentals and tweak the offense and defense before Tennessee comes to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum for a 3 p.m. CST tipoff on Saturday. There will be no television coverage of that game.

The Tigers pushed through a fast-paced, intense workout on Monday evening during the first of two weeks during the conference schedule in which they will play just one game. After closing a three-game home stand on Feb. 8th vs. LSU, the Tigers will again be off for a week before traveling to face Alabama, a team they defeated 77-68 on Jan. 18th.

"Every game in this league is going to be tough," Ellis says. "We have a three-game home stand starting this week that I think is going to be pivotal. I think the fans are going to have a lot to say with it because as teams come in those teams will be looking for wins just like we were when we went to Kentucky and to Georgia. That game wasn't easy for Kentucky and it wasn't easy for Georgia. We have to make it tough for anybody to come in here and get one and I think the fans are going to play a big part."

After playing four of their first five SEC games on the road, the Tigers will play four of their next five at home with Tennessee, Ole Miss, LSU and Mississippi State coming to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Auburn is currently focusing on getting ready for Tennessee, a team off to a 2-3 start in the conference. The Vols are 9-6 overall and feature a talented group of players. Auburn will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak to the Volunteers, who pulled out a 96-88 double overtime victory in their last trip to Auburn two seasons ago. That ended a six-game losing streak to Auburn at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Marco Killingsworth

The Tigers are getting strong play from a pair of sophomore forwards. Brandon Robinson came off the bench vs. Georgia to score a career-high 25 points while adding nine rebounds. Marco Killingsworth continued his strong play with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Tennessee plays on Wednesday night at home vs. South Carolina after just missing an upset bid to knock off ninth-ranked Louisville, which escaped with a 72-69 victory. UT's last conference game was a strong performance, too, as the Vols took Georgia into overtime before falling 81-76.

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