Jan. 2, 2012
AUBURN - Senior Kenny Gabriel recorded the first triple-double in the 106-year history of Auburn basketball with all career-highs of 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks as Auburn defeated Bethune-Cookman 67-41 on Monday in Auburn Arena.
"It's pretty special, a triple-double," head coach Tony Barbee said. "When you consider the type of talent that has come out of this program, the Chuck Persons, the Charles Barkleys, the Wesley Persons, the Mike Mitchells, you can go down the line and this is the first triple-double in Auburn history? It's special."
Gabriel, who shot 11-of-13 from the floor, totaled eight points, eight blocks and five rebounds in the first half before finishing the feat with 7:42 left in the game. He also added four steals and three assists. The triple-double was the first in Auburn's 2,322 all-time games played. Gabriel tied his career highs for points and rebounds and set a new career-best mark in blocks.
"In the first half I started blocking a lot of shots," Gabriel said. "We went into halftime and coach came in and told me that I had eight points, eight blocks and five rebounds. He told me to keep playing hard and to go get the triple-double. When I got it, I was happy because I have never recorded a triple-double in my entire career and I feel truly blessed to have done it in college.
"Coach reminds me all the time to keep playing hard and I'm just glad that I can have my name in the record books. This is definitely the best overall game I have ever played."
Varez Ward set a new career high with 10 assists as Auburn posted its largest margin of victory of 26 points this season, and it was the first time an Auburn player recorded 10 assists in a game since Quantez Robertson posted 10 against Ole Miss in 2008.
With the victory, Auburn improved to 10-3 on the season. The Tigers didn't win their 10th game last season until March 2nd against Ole Miss.
Auburn used a 16-4 run to take its largest lead of the first half at 32-16 on a 3-pointer by Frankie Sullivan with two minutes remaining. After holding a 34-19 halftime lead, the Tigers began the second half on a 12-5 run that included 10 points by Gabriel to stretch their lead to 46-24 with 15:36 to go. The Tigers widened their lead to 56-29 on a layup by Denson halfway through the second period. A free throw by Willy Kouassi gave Auburn its largest lead of the game at 63-33 with less than five minutes to go.
Ricky Johnson led Bethune-Cookman (4-11) with 17 points. Denson was Auburn's only other double-figure scorer with 10.
Auburn shot 51.7 percent from the floor and the Tigers' defense held the Wildcats to only 23.7 percent shooting from the field, a season-low for an Auburn opponent.
Auburn is in action next on Wednesday at Florida State at 5 p.m. CST in Tallahassee. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com.