Auburn Head Basketball Coach Tony Barbee reached a career milestone Monday night at the Auburn Arena when his Tigers defeated Florida A&M 76-69.
It was the 100th victory for Barbee as a head coach. He has 18 wins at Auburn and 82 at University of Texas El Paso (UTEP).
The 100th victory didn’t come easily as the Tigers only shot 42 per cent and the Rattlers kept it close most of the night. However, the Tigers stayed on top by out rebounding FAMU 45 -39 and out shooting them in the paint 40-22.
Kenny Gabriel who went into the game ranked third in the SEC in blocks (2.4 per game) and fourth in rebounds (8.1) added seven more blocked shots and 13 rebounds to his stats. He also dropped in eight points for the night.
Frankie Sullivan had nine rebounds and scored 16 points. Auburn Center, Rob Chubb shot 9-of-10 from the foul line and finished with 21 points to tie his career high.
Even with those three Tigers excelling, FAMU is a team that the Tigers should have defeated more convincingly. Nevertheless, Auburn is now 7-1 and off to it’s best season start in seven years. But there wasn’t any elation heard in Coach Barbee’s post game remarks.
As has been the rule so far this season Barbee was less than thrilled with the Tiger’s performance. “We play down to the level of our competition, and that’s a bad habit to establish.”
Stingy with compliments, the most positive thing heard from Barbee this season was after the North Florida game Saturday, when he said the Tigers have made some improvement the last couple of games; but even then he was quick to add, ” We have yet to put two full halves together, and that’s our goal.”
Auburn’s next chance to put together a full game will come over the holidays. The Tigers flew out Tuesday for a Christmas tournament in Hawaii. They will play three games in the Diamondhead Christmas Classic in Honolulu.
The Tigers will face tough competition with such opponents as Xavier, Clemson, and Kansas State. They open against Hawaii on Thursday night.and play the final tournament game on Christmas Day. ESPNU will broadcast Auburn’s first game beginning at midnight on Thursday.
One would think that starting off a season with a 7-1 record and winning your 100th career victory would be pause for celebration. But not with Tony Barbee.
Personal accolades are not what’s important to him. What’s important to Barbee is his team playing at a high level regardless of the competition. He made no bones when he came to Auburn that his goal was to build the Tigers into a nationally recognized program.
And the reason the Tigers are off to a good start this year is because of the expectations he has set. He has been determined not to let his team get complacent. Known as a tough, no nonsense task master, Barbee seems to be coaching with an even sharper vigor and focus this season.
There’s an old adage that says in business or sports, “You get what you expect.” If that’s true, then Auburn ought to have a good year because Barbee has made it clear that he has nothing but high expectations for these Tigers.
In the mean time Coach … Congratulations on your 100th win!