Defense and Hargrove Spark AU to Victory

Jeff Lebo's Auburn basketball Tigers took care of business at home led by senior Lucas Hargrove.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior Lucas Hargrove scored 20 points and added 13 rebounds as the Auburn basketball team defeated Charleston Southern 77-62 on Tuesday night.

Auburn's defense was the key to the victory. The Tigers forced 22 turnovers and made just 11. That was more than enough to overcome Auburn's 42.9 percent shooting for the game.

"I thought we did some good things defensively," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "I thought we were active and forced them into some turnovers.

"We got some steals on some of our presses and got some deflections and got some easy ones," Lebo added. "We mixed up how we pressed them and our quickness gave them some problems."

Lebo said he liked what he saw from Hargrove. "Twenty (points) and 13 (rebounds) is a good night for him," the coach stated. "I? thought he had some energy and some toughness tonight. I thought he made some key offensive rebounds out there for us.

"I thought the play of Ty Armstrong was good," Lebo added. "He did some good things in limited minutes." Armstrong, a freshman post player, scored seven points, added a rebound and blocked a shot in seven minutes of action.

The Tigers got 11 points off the bench from Brendon Knox who was 4-5 from the field. He added three rebounds.

Frankie Sullivan and Tay Waller each scored 10 points for the Tigers. Sullivan had six of Auburn's 12 steals and was 6-6 at the foul line. "He is a tough kid," Lebo said of Sullivan. "He is playing with a hurt wrist."

Waller added six rebounds for the Tigers.

Charleston Southern, which fell to 5-7 overall, was led by Jemarco Warren's 18 points. Kelvin Martin added 12 points.

Auburn, which improved to 7-6 with the victory, out-rebounded the Buccaneers 38-32. The Tigers were 19-28 at the foul line while Charleston Southern made 8-10.

The Tigers struggled with their three-point shooting making just 4-20 attempts. Charleston Southern hit 8-22.

Lebo said he liked what he saw from redshirt freshman point guard Josh Wallace, who scored three points, added an assist and a steal plus lots of good on-the-ball defense. "I thought Josh Wallace played pretty well in his 13 minutes out there.

"(DeWayne) Reed wasn't great tonight," Lebo said. "He had nothing the first half. The second was a little bit better. We need our seniors to play well every night."

DeWayne Reed applies backcourt pressure for the Tigers.

Lebo said he liked the defense, but said the Tigers aren't playing well offensively. "I still shake my head sometimes at some of the plays we make," he said. "Hopefully, we can get that corrected and we get some confidence shooting the basketball from the perimeter."

Auburn trailed by as many as seven points in the first half, but caught the Buccaneers exactly two minutes later at the 5:53 mark as Sullivan hit a pair of free throws to tie the score at 24-24.

Sullivan then put the Tigers ahead on a steal and a dunk and Auburn never trailed after that.

At halftime Auburn held a 36-33 lead despite being outshot from the field by Charleston Southern, which hit 57.1 percent of his field goals and half of its 10 threes. Auburn managed to hit just 42.4 percent in the first half from the field and made just 2-13 threes.

Lucas Hargrove

Auburn negated the shooting deficit by forcing 14 first half turnovers while committing just five.

Hargrove hit 8-15 field goals in the victory. He was 1-3 on treys, 3-4 at the foul line and had four assists, four turnovers and one steal.

"I felt like I did pretty well rebounding the ball," Hargrove said. "I like to rebound the ball in double digits. Collectively, as a team, we came out strong. Coach Lebo had us doing two-a-days this week. Everybody hates two-a-days but you can't argue with the results so they don't seem so bad now."

Hargrove said the Tigers won the game vs. Charleston Southern with defense. "We know that every night we are not going to shoot the ball well, but you can always play well on defense every night. You can always go to your principles on defense and we did that pretty well tonight."

The Tigers return to action on Saturday with a home game vs. Georgia Southern at 1 p.m.

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