Leading Auburn scorer Frankie Sullivan must have help tonight against the Bulldogs.
“We’re getting a lot of open looks from behind that line, and we’ve got some really good shooters who aren’t making them right now. Our shooters, who (have been) getting a lot of open shots, have to step up and make them,”
That’s the way Auburn Coach Tony Barbee explained what has sent the Tigers into a four game slide after looking so good to begin conference play.
Missed opportunities pretty much explains the SEC record to date (2-4). Even though guard Frankie Sullivan currently ranks third in the SEC in scoring (17ppg.), the team as a whole has not been able to make their open shots.
In SEC losses to Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, Auburn has struggled in the second half, averaging a lowly 34.5% shooting average. And their overall 3-point average for that three game stretch is worse than that (24%). The answer to the Tigers woes is simple: Sullivan has got to have some offensive help from his teammates.
The Tigers will have a chance to turn the team shooting statistic around tonight as they take on the Georgia Buldogs at 7p.m.EST at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. The good news is that the Dawgs (also 2-4) have the lowest shooting average in the SEC (59%). Fans can catch the game on CSS & ESPN3.
Chris Denson really came through last weekend for the Tigers (after returning from a stress fracture) scoring 18 points in a close 63-61 loss to Ole Miss. If Sullivan can get that kind of help from a couple of his teammates, Auburn may be able to get their season back on the right track. If not … then the Tigers may be in for a very rough time the rest of the way.
Go Tigers, Beat dem Dawgs!
UPDATE: The theme of this article tells the story for another Auburn loss as the Tigers shooting woes continue. Tigers shot no more than 30% and lost 57-49. For a full game wrap up click here.
When Auburn Arena was constructed, school officials wanted to get the students closer to the action and more involved in the games. Mission accomplished. Saturday night’s heart breaking loss to Ole Miss has been overshadowed by what happened immediately following the game away from the court.
After a raucous back-and-fourth contest that had the arena rocking all-night, Ole Miss star Marshall Henderson headed to the student section to rub it in following the Rebel’s 63-61 win over Auburn.
What happened next is still up for debate. Many in attendance swear Henderson flipped off the Auburn students, even provoking one Auburn official to say so over Twitter. Video is inclusive, but there’s no question, Auburn students returned the favor.
Provoking them like he did, it’s a wonder Henderson got out of there with all his body parts. The rage in the eyes of the students is great. What’s even better is watching the older gentleman in the video react. Good stuff.
While it’s certainly not good to condone this behavior, it’s comforting to see Auburn students care so much about basketball.
If Auburn ever becomes consistently competitive, Auburn Arena is going to be one fun place to spend Saturday night…
Is there a bigger turd in all of college football than Nebraska’s Bo Pelini? Known for making a complete ass of himself on the sidelines during games, apparently he carries these traits into everyday life.
When Florida prep wide receiver Dominic Walker phoned Pelini Friday to tell him he was switching his commitment to Auburn, the Nebraska coach reacted like a 14 year-old child.
“They were [mad],” Walker told the Orlando Sentinel. “They were very mad. But I thought I had to call them like a real man should,” Walker said. “But yeah, they were mad. Coach Pelini said, ‘Best of luck, you’re going to need it.’”
A class act.
The Nebraska staff is no better. When Walker reached out to Cornhusker wide receivers coach Rich Fisher, the reaction was just as juvenile.
I wonder what Pelini’s reaction was back in December, when he got Walker to flip from Vanderbilt to Nebraska? Remember when that program used to be the gold standard in college football? Not anymore…
If you are still trying to decide who to pull for in Sunday’s Super Bowl, then may I suggest to you the San Francisco 49’ers. They have the only Auburn starter in the game with Carlos Rogers starting at cornerback.
Baltimore on the other hand, has two Alabama starters in the lineup with Terence Cody and Courtney Upshaw. They also have former Auburn player Josh Bynes as a reserve. Overall, the Ravens have 10 SEC players on its roster and the 49’ers have nine.
You could hear the frustration in Tony Barbee’s voice in his post game press conference, “I got out coached. They (Tigers) got out played.” It was evident he was disgusted with the performance of his basketball team against Kentucky.
Saturday night the Tigers appeared to be riding a wave of confidence going into the game. All the right things seem to be in place for a signature win. The team’s senior leadership has been fortified with a number of top shelf recruits and was playing in front of a packed home crowd in the newest venue in the SEC.
In addition, the perception was that unranked Kentucky (11-5, 2-1 SEC) was experiencing a down year while the Tigers (8-8, 2-1) were on the rise after taking No.12 Illinois to the wire, defeating South Carolina on the road, and playing in a double overtime game at Arkansas.
But perception does not always equal reality. For the 28th time in the last 29 meetings, the Tigers lost to the Wildcats. Auburn looked good enough in the first few minutes and were only trailing UK 32-27 at the half.
However, the Tigers reverted back to their old ways, wilting in the second half and losing 75-53, despite the support of an intense and rowdy home crowd.
To lose in double overtime on the road is one thing, to lose by 22 at home is quite another. One can make a point that the long road trip to Fayetteville took too much out of the team.
Whether true or not, it was embarrassing. It was the worst loss at home in the Barbee tenure. Yet what was more disappointing than the loss was the Tigers didn’t seem to fight like they have in recent weeks. Barbee said his guys played scared but added, “We can’t let this one loss affect what we have built in conference play.”
Question is, how will Auburn respond. Good teams find ways to absorb these kind of blows and move forward. However, at this juncture, this team has proven they are not at that level … yet.
Barbee’s third season began with a lot of optimism and while the Tigers didn’t play well in any phase of the game Saturday- they can still finish with a good season.
They get their chance at redemption tonight when they take on the Vanderbilt Commodores at 7 pm in a road game in Nashville. Fans can can catch the game on ESPN3.
Although Vandy has had its struggles, tonight wont be easy. The Commodores can play ball as they nearly beat Kentucky at home in a game that wasn’t decided till the final buzzer.
Saturday night is history, the Tigers can bounce back. But to do it, they’ll have to return to the scrappy fighting defense and aggressive offense they played before the UK game.
War Eagle – Beat the Dores! UPDATE: Vanderbilt made all of its treys while pulling out to a 16-point lead with 11 minutes to play and went on to beat the Tigers 73-61. Coach Barbee said, “Right now we are not playing really tough and we are not playing with a defensive identity and it is hurting us on both ends of the floor,” Auburn returns home to play Ole Miss Saturday at 7 pm CST.
Tonight the Auburn Tigers take on the Kentucky Wildcats in front of a sold out crowd in Auburn Arena. It will be a big night for Tiger fans on The Plains.
But it will also be a big night for the family of one of Auburn’s All-time greatest players, Mike Mitchell. In pregame ceremonies, his No.30 jersey will be officially retired and hung along side those of Chuck Person’s No. 45, Wesley Person’s No.11, Charles Barkley’s No.34, John Mengelt’s No.15 and Rex Frederick’s No.32.
Since he will be posthumously inducted into this exclusive Auburn fraternity, I thought I would share my tribute to Mitchell from the article that ran on June 15, 2011. Here is …
“One of the Greatest Basketball Players in Auburn University History” By AubTigerman Posted on: June 15th, 2011 in Basketball He was a tall skinny kid from Atlanta, Ga. who went on to become one of the greatest Basketball players in the history of Auburn University. Mike played ball for the Tigers in the mid to late seventies, completely rewriting the school’s record books.
When he left Auburn in 1978, Mike Mitchell was Auburn’s all time leading scorer and is still second on that list with 2,123 points trailing only ‘The Rifleman” Chuck Person’s 2,311. Even after 33 years his name sits at No.1 for the most career rebounds at 996.
He averaged close to 25 points per game his senior year, made All-American, and was a four time All-SEC selection. Dale Brown, LSU’s legendary coach once said, “I don’t know how to stop him. We considered setting up a howitzer out there to stop his shots.”
Mike went on to have a 22 year professional career averaging 20 points per game.
Drafted in the first round by Cleveland in ’78 he became an NBA All-Star. He was the Cavalier’s all-time leader in field goals made, scoring average and points scored in a season, until a kid who wasn’t even born yet (Lebaron James) broke his records 20 years later.
He finished four times in the top ten lists of the league’s leading scorers. “You had to keep somebody in front of him and behind him all the time because he was so quick and so strong.” said former Celtics star Quinn Buckner, “If he gets the ball down low, forget it; you can’t stop his shot.”
Mike’s best years though were probably with San Antonio where he led the Spurs to two consecutive Midwest Division titles. Mitchell averaged 26 points and 10 rebounds in the 1982-83 NBA Western Conference finals against the Lakers’ Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He finished his career in Italy and left the game at a time when many thought he still had some more years left in him. But when he retired he was quoted as saying, “Sometimes in life, you need to make a change and invest more in others and in your family.”
And that’s what Mike did for the past decade. He came back to San Antonio and worked in the San Antonio Independent School District with at-risk kids.
Mike was good at teaching kids how to achieve and more importantly how to overcome obstacles. He had overcome his share in life including a tough childhood and later struggles with substance abuse.
But this past Thursday, Mike succumbed to his final and toughest obstacle. He passed away in San Antonio from a rare form of lung cancer after a two year battle with the dreaded disease.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said, “He was a good man who cared deeply about his family and the community. As a basketball player, he was a star in Auburn, San Antonio, Cleveland, and Italy. At each stop in his distinguished career, he was a fan favorite thanks to his outstanding offensive skills and his humble, down-to-earth personality.”
Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs added, “Our hearts and prayers go out to Mike’s family. We are extremely saddened at (his) passing …
He was one of the greatest basketball players in Auburn University history.”
Post Script: Anyone who ever saw Mike Mitchell play ball, knows how deserving he is of this recognition. In fact, it is an honor that is way over due. War Eagle Mike!
Blanche Alverson has become the 25th Auburn player to score more than 1,000 career points.
The Auburn Tigers had their 11 game home winning streak broke tonight by the Lady Tennessee Volunteers. The Tigers had not lost at Auburn Arena since a 3 point loss to Arkansas on Feb. 12, 2012 and were 9-0 at home this season.
The Tigers came out with inspired play and were in command for most of the game. Auburn held a 32-27 lead at the half, controlled the glass (22-19), held a 16-2 lead on points in the paint and out-scored the Lady Vols on second-chance points, 10-0.
All five Auburn starters scored in double-digits led by Blache Alverson and Hasina Muhammad, with 15 a piece. Hasina, who leads the Tigers with 17 points per game, continued her personal streak of being the only SEC player who has scored in double figures in every game this season.
Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said she thought her players played extremely hard and with a lot of confidence. “In the SEC, somehow you have a lot more confidence when you’re at home in your own arena, and I thought our girls felt really confident and they played very hard, especially a lot of our starters who were playing a lot of minutes.”
The Tigers led by as many as 12 points before the No. 9 Volunteers made a 16-2 rally to tie the game at 53-53. Ariel Massengale made a 3-pointer with six minutes to go that put the Vols in front by three points or more for the first time in the game. That capped a 7-0 run and put Tennessee ahead 56-53. The Tigers just ran out of gas after that and the Vols never trailed the rest of the game, pulling away the last three minutes to win 75-66.
It was a disappointing loss but one the Tigers can bounce back from. After all, under first year Coach Williams-Flournoy, they have already exceeded pre season expectations by being 13-5 (2-3 SEC).
The way Coach Flo has these women playing, the future’s still bright. The Tigers have proven they can play with the league’s best. And that’s a good thing because Terri’s Tigers travel to Lexington Sunday for a 1 pm CST tip off against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Rob Chubb had a double- double night in Tigers’ loss to Arkansas.
For the third year in a row, the Arkansas Razorbacks have handed the Auburn Tigers another razor close loss at Bud Walton Arena. This time it took two overtime periods to get the job done.
Despite Frankie Sullivan’s 26 points and Rob Chubb’s 12 points and 11 rebounds, the Hogs defeated the Tigers 88-80. It was another gallant effort in what many believe is one of the toughest venues in college basketball.
The game went back and forth all night. Auburn out shot Arkansas 50 percent to 45.5 percent from the floor for the game, including 44 percent from the 3-point range. The Tigers shot 7-of-17 from the foul line, outrebounded the Hogs 39-36 and went 8-of-12 behind the arc in the second period alone.
Coach Barbee said He was proud of the way his team fought. “I’m very proud of the guys and the way they battled. We have to hold serve at home. That is all Arkansas did tonight. They took care of the home court, but we wanted to give ourselves a chance on the road to win. We gave ourselves a chance. We figured out a way to get over the hump last game. We didn’t tonight.”
Auburn is now 8-8 and 2-1 in the South Eastern Conference. The Tigers will not have long to lick their wounds as they return home to play Kentucky in a sold out game Saturday night. The match will be televised by ESPNU and can be heard on the Auburn IMG Sports Network.
Frankie Sullivan will lead Tigers into a hostile environment at Arkansas
January 25th, 2012 the Auburn Tigers are in a tight basketball game with Arkansas. The Tigers have fought and scraped for 40 minutes in front of a rowdy crowd of 19,500 Razorback fans in Bud Walton Arena.
It was a wild game from the start as Tony Barbee’s Tigers came out with a ferocious defense that held the Razorbacks to zero points for the first six minutes of the game. It was a defensive struggle on both sides with the Tigers leading at halftime 22-19.
Auburn out shot Arkansas from the field 40 percent to 35 percent and out rebounded the Razorbacks 42-29, scrapping and fighting all the way to the buzzer.
It was a great defensive effort to be sure, but in the end, Auburn needed someone to be able to make a shot. The Tigers had three chances on two different possessions to make 3-pointers that could have won the game or at least sent it into overtime. Frankie Sullivan and Chris Denson both missed open chances and Kenny Gabriel’s attempt slid off the rim at the buzzer to give the Hogs a 56-53 victory and send the home crowd into a frenzy.
Coach Barbee called the loss a heart breaker. Tonight at 7 pm CST the Tigers have a chance for a redo at the famed Bud Walton Arena. It will be a tall assignment. The Walton Arena is one of the most difficult places to play in college sports.
Arkansas has only loss once this season at home (to Syracuse). And the Hogs are on a five game winning streak having won six of their last seven. Last Saturday, they thoroughly dominated Vanderbilt 56-33.
The Razorbacks lead the SEC in field goal pct. defense (.316), is second in scoring defense (51.0), second in turnover margin (+4.0) and third in steals (8.5).
However, since Auburn came with in a whiskers’ hair of defeating No.12 Illinois 81-79, the Tigers have played with a new vigor here to for unseen on a Barbee team.
For the first time in 10 years, Auburn is off to a 2-0 Southeastern Conference start, including a 74-71 road win over South Carolina and is riding a three game winning streak of their own.
But Arkansas’ full-court press will present the biggest challenge the Tigers have faced all year. Coach Barbee said, “It’s nonstop, especially at home where they’ll press 90 percent of the possessions. Because of how relentless they are, our wings and our bigs have to be able to handle the ball, too, and make good decisions.”
If you tune into the SEC Network tonight, expect to see the Walton House rocking as the Hogs bring their full court press. If the Tigers can play great defense once again and win the turnover battle, they have an excellent chance to hang a second home loss on the Hogs. And for the Tigers …
Count me among those who saw nothing wrong with the comments made by ESPN play-by-play man Brent Musburger about Auburn graduate and current Miss Alabama Katherine Webb during last week’s BCS Championship game.
Of course, I was still in shock over seeing an Auburn graduate sporting an Alabama jersey, sitting in the stands with the Bama quarterback’s mom. Now that’s offensive.
Pointing out the obvious is hardly a crime. I don’t care whether you’re a 73 years-old or a fraternity boy, Ms. Webb is a looker. I’ll stop at that since her grandparents live about 300 yards from my home.
I’m happy for her new found stardom and appearance in the upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. But I keep going back to that Bama jersey in Miami. You’ve only been dating a month. Did you have to go that far? The jersey? Really? …
Staying on the beauty pageant theme, yeah I know, we’ve really crossed the line now, Congratulations to Opelika native and former Auburn student Mallory Hagan on being crowned Miss America on Saturday.
Hagan graduated from Opelika High in 2007 and spent a year at Auburn before moving to Brooklyn. I’m not sure of why the drastic change in venue, but it obviously worked out…
Who would have put odds on Auburn being 2-0 in SEC play a month ago? Not me. Truthfully, I’d already written off Tony Barbee. Two games don’t make a season, but its one hell of a start, especially when you haven’t won your first two conference games of the season since 2003.
Saturday’s 74-71 win over South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena marked its third straight win and sixth in the last eight, moving the Tigers to 8-7 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. Frankie Sullivan led the way with 17 points.
Things don’t get easier this week, with Auburn heading to Fayetteville on Wednesday to take on Arkansas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be carried live on the SEC Network.
Auburn returns home on Saturday to welcome Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. CT at Auburn Arena…
By all accounts, Pinson Valley (AL.) High School linebacker Zach Cunningham had a great official visit to Auburn over the weekend. The 6-foot-4,196 pounder is a four-star recruit that is rated the nation’s No. 18 outside linebacker by 247 Sports.
“Looking real good,” is how Cunningham responded to Auburn’s chances of signing him next month.
“My mom wants me to stay close to home so she can watch my games and I can still come home to visit on the weekends,” he said.
That said, Cunningham still plans on taking visits to Oregon, Tennessee and Vanderbilt before making a decision.
Linebacker was a glaring weakness this past season. Let’s hope Ellis Johnson and team brings him home…
Carver (Montgomery) High School quarterback Jeremy Johnson remains committed to Auburn and spent the weekend on campus getting to know the new staff. He also did a little recruiting.
“I’m 100 percent with Auburn,” he said. “This is where I want to be. Now is my time to recruit, to get players around me, skill position wise.”
Johnson says he plans to come in this summer with an eye on competing for the starting position.
“I’m coming in and compete for the job,” Johnson said. “I’m a competitor. I just want to do the best for Auburn.”
He’ll have his chance with Gus Malzahn declaring all positions wide open. Jonathan Wallace is still regarded as the favorite to hold onto the quarterback job. However, if you saw Johnson play this past season, you know this kid is loaded with talent and likely will have his shot in fall camp.