March 6, 2013

Solving a mystery

AUBURN | Frankie Sullivan's senior season will go down as one of the greatest mysteries of Auburn basketball history.

That's how coach Tony Barbee sees it, anyway.

The senior guard was expected to emerge as one of the Southeastern Conference's elite scorers this winter. Expectations for Auburn may have been low, but Barbee was high on Sullivan and tweaked the Tigers' offensive system to feature their most consistent scorer.

Yet Sullivan is enduring the worst season of his five-year college career. Answers are elusive.

"He had a six-game stretch (earlier this year) where he was the Frankie we all know," Barbee said. "This stretch right here is as mind-boggling as anything I've seen."

Sullivan remains the team's leading scorer at 14.1 points per game, though he hasn't scored 14 points in a game since Jan. 23. He's hit double digits once in eight games. He's shooting 23 percent from long range during that stretch, 31 percent from inside the arc.

Nothing is working.

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