Tigers Win By Several Miles Vs. the Bears

A report on Auburn's exhibition men's basketball victory is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn turned up the defensive intensity early in the second half and pulled away for an 87-40 exhibition men's basketball victory over Miles on Friday night.

Fifteen Tigers saw action and 12 scored for the Tigers. Tay Waller, who played just 14 minutes, led all scorers with 15 points.

"The first half we had to get the jitters out," Waller said. "We had a lot of bobbled passes and we weren't playing very good defense.

"In the second half we went back in and got our heads together," the senior guard added. "We came out in the second half and played pretty good. We started playing defense and the offense worked pretty good, too."

Waller spent most of the second half on an exercise bike watching the action and keeping a bruised thigh from getting tight.

Auburn shot 50 percent from the field in the second half to finish the game at 45.1 percent. The Bears made just 26.7 percent of their field goals.

The Tigers were particularly good from three. They made 14-32 treys over the Bears, who tried to zone the taller Tigers. That was more than enough to overcome being particularly bad shooting at the foul line with the Tigers making just 9-21 free throws.

Coach Jeff Lebo agreed with Waller about how the game developed. "We were shaky the first half just trying to get the jitters out of us and play in front of people," he said.

"I thought the second half we shot the ball much better,"?Lebo pointed out. "We were 8-17 from three and we defended much better. I think they were 0-9 from three in the second half.

"We had a good start to the second half," Lebo said. "Some of the young kids were a little jittery to start, which is pretty much to be expected. In the second half they settled down nicely."

Lebo said he liked what he saw from freshman guard Earnest Ross who tied for the rebounding lead with seven and he did that in just 12 minutes of action while also scoring eight points. "In the scrimmage he rebounded the ball excellently, too," Lebo said.

Coach Jeff Lebo liked what he saw from Earnest Ross (33) on Friday night.

"We have a lot of decisions to make as a coach," Lebo noted. "We have a lot of guys sitting along the bench. I thought our depth really bothered them, especially in the second half."

Walk-on redshirt freshman guard Josh Wallace also stood out. He played just nine minutes, but produced five points and five assists without a turnover.

The other redshirt, 6-5 sophomore Tony Neysmith, played 11 minutes and didn't score. However, more importantly, he re-injured his ankle which he sprained earlier this fall.

The Tigers got 13 points from senior Lucas Hargrove, who hit 6-7 field goals, and 11 points for DeWayne Reed, who added five assists with four turnovers.

Freshman guard Andre Malone scored nine points in 19 minutes and freshman forward Ty Armstrong chipped in with eight points and five rebounds in 12 minutes.

Lebo played 13 Tigers in the first half as Auburn took a 36-23 lead at the break.

Waller sparked the Tigers in the first 20 minutes hitting four threes and Hargrove added 11 points.

The Tigers hit just 13-33 first half field goals for 39.4 percent, but the Bears were just 8-29 (27.6 percent). Auburn out-rebounded Miles 26-17 in the first half.

Kenny Gabriel gets rebounding position vs. the Bears. The freshman forward scored four points, added four rebounds and four steals in 12 minutes.

Auburn's free throw shooting, a problem in recent seasons, was a problem in the first half as the Tigers made just 4-12 foul shots.

Auburn led 36-23 at halftime, but five minutes into the second period had stretched the margin to 52-25 on a three-point bomb by Reed. After that, the Division II team from Birmingham never made a run at the Tigers as a crowd of 3,780 watched to debut the final year of play at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

The Tigers open the regular season next Friday with an 8:30 p.m. home game vs. Niagara, the second half of a double-header with the women's team playing Troy at 6 p.m. in its regular season debut.

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