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December 14, 2012
Barbee wants more
AUBURN -- A sluggish first half against Grambling State earlier this week had Tony Barbee concerned.
Yet a sterling second half of offensive excellence, one that saw Auburn score 65 points on 68-percent shooting, wasn't what gave the coach reason to smile. Instead, he saw a collection of individuals learning to collaborate as a team.
"If you look at the second half against Grambling, we had 20 assists and two turnovers," Barbee said. "That is the way our team has to play as a unit - five guys out there competing at one time both offensively and defensively. There are a lot of things where we have to improve - and we are trying to improve in every aspect."
The Grambling game also included an important change to the Tigers' lineup. Guard Chris Denson, who missed Auburn's first seven games of the season, earned academic clearance after passing 19 hours of classes during the fall semester.
The left-hander was fit and clearly prepared to play his role Tuesday night, thrashing into the lane and creating opportunities for himself. Denson finished with 13 points in 20 minutes of working, going 5-of-6 from the floor.
Other items of note:
** Guards Jordan Price and Noel Johnson combined to go 8-for-10 from long range Tuesday night.
** Johnson missed his first 10 shots of the season, but now leads the Southeastern Conference in three-point shooting percentage at 53.3. He has connected on 16 of his last 27 attempts from three-point range.
** The 50-point win was Auburn's largest margin of victory in 12 years.
** Auburn has used seven different starting lineups in its eight games this season.
** Furman went 15-for-32 from long range during its win against Presbyterian College earlier this week. "We are going to go out there and take away the three-point line and make everything really difficult on them," Barbee said.