Tigers Cruise Past Alabama A&M in Huntsville

Lucas Hargrove posted a double-double as Auburn won its fourth game of the season.

Huntsville, Ala.--Lucas Hargrove led the Tigers with a double-double as Auburn cruised to an 87-52 basketball victory over Alabama A&M on Tuesday night.

Hargrove, a senior forward, scored 22 points and added 13 rebounds at the Von Braun Center as the Tigers improved their record to 4-3 while Alabama A&M fell to 2-3. Hargrove was 10-12 from the field and added three assists with just one turnover as he recorded a second consecutive double-double.

Coach Jeff Lebo was able to clear his bench early as the Tigers improved their all-time record to 16-0 vs. teams from the SWAC.

The game marked the regular season debut of senior guard Tay Waller. He scored 13 points in 17 minutes of playing time off the bench as he hit 5-7 field goals, including 3-4 treys. Waller had been sidelined by a thigh injury.

"We came up here and knew they were a good team, and we had to just come out more aggressive than they did," Hargrove said. "It is always good to get your leading scorer from last year coming back in Tay. He is our shooter and is a big part of the offense. He was big for us tonight."

As has been the case in most games this season the Tigers started slowly. Against the Bulldogs the Tigers trailed 7-2 before taking the lead at 10-9 on Waller's first points of the year, a three-pointer.

With an 18-3 to close the half the Tigers led 41-24 at halftime and kept the pressure on Alabama A&M early in the second half to put the game out of reach.

Auburn dominated the boards out-rebounding the Bulldogs 52-31. That helped trigger fastbreak baskets for the Tigers who enjoyed a 27-7 advantage in fastbreak points.

The Tigers also enjoyed a big edge in shooting. Coach Jeff Lebo's team made 35-69 field goals and 6-20 threes. The Bulldogs made 19-57 shots including 5-15 threes.

Lebo said he liked the play of true freshman post player Ty Armstrong, who pulled down 12 rebounds and scored eight points in a reserve role. "He was terrific," the coach said. "He had 10 offensive rebounds and had some key ones in the first half when we were struggling a little bit on the athletic glass. He had some key stickbacks and showed his athleticism. I hope it gives him some confidence."

"Everybody got a chance to play and that was nice," Lebo added.

"We had stretches there where we were pretty good," said Lebo, who added, "It was nice to get Tay back out there. He had three days of practice and he was limited in that, and he hasn't really practiced in three and a half weeks. He certainly makes some shots out there for us."

Waller said, "It felt good to hit my first three of the season. It felt like a big weight went off of my shoulders. I just went from there and I hit one right after that, too.

"It felt good to get out and play, but my timing is off a little bit coming off the ball screen, but I will work hard in practiced to get that back," said Waller, a returning starter from last year's squad that won 24 games.

The Tigers return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum vs. Troy.

Game Notes: The Tigers improved their all-time record to 3-0 vs. Alabama A&M...Auburn is 2-1 all-time in games played in Huntsville...Auburn's 87 points are a season high topping the 80 scored in a victory over IUPUI in the Glenn Wilkes Classic...AU's margin of victory vs. Alabama A&M was 42 points last season in a game played at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. This year the margin was 35 points...Sophomore guard Frankie Sullivan had not missed a free throw this season, but he missed his first foul shot vs. the Bulldogs to end his streak at 27, three shy of the Auburn record. As a team the Tigers hit just 11-21 free throws...Lebo said he appreciated having a home crowd advantage even though the game was played in Alabama A&M's hometown... The Tigers made eight steals and outscored the Bulldogs 12-0 in points off turnovers. AU had a 26-10 edge in points in the paint, a 12-2 advantage in second chance points and 14-0 margin in fastbreak points...DeWayne Reed struggled shooting as he hit 2-10 field goals, but he had six steals, three assists and no turnovers...Walk-on point guard Josh Wallace added four assists, two points and no turnovers in 11 minutes.

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