January 31, 2009

Tigers drop tough one at home

Auburn had an opportunity to pull even in the SEC playing at home against a Vandy team that had won just one conference game.

But leading scorer DeWayne Reed was a late arrival for AU's pregame and played just three minutes, and Vandy's Jermaine Beal shot lights-out from 3-point range to give the Commodores an 82-75 win over the Tigers Saturday afternoon at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.

A junior, Beale shot 7-of-8 from 3-point range including two straight in the final 2:44 to break a 70-70 tie.

"Beale was tremendous," AU head coach Jeff Lebo said. "…He made 7-of-8 and three crucial ones in the second half when we made the run. Give them credit. Offensively, I thought they were awfully good today."

Reed, who came into the game averaging 14 points overall and 18.2 in SEC play, checked into the game at the 10:58 mark of the first half, shooting 0-of-1 from the floor and dishing out two assists.

"He was late," Lebo said. "He played a little bit. I didn't like his energy and sat him.

"It hurt our team, no doubt about that."

Vandy head coach Kevin Stallings said the loss of Reed was a big factor in the game. Reed was also leading AU with 4.0 assists 2.1 steals per game.

"It's just really damaging to the entire fabric of your team when a guy is careless, irresponsible or selfish like that," Stallings said. "We've all had that as coaches and I feel badly for Jeff because the only choice you have is to do what Jeff did. Here you've got a game against a team that's lost four in a row and your leading scorer decides he can't get there on time.

"That's a bad, bad, bad place and a bad thing to have happen."

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