Nov. 12, 2010
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Auburn - Kenny Gabriel recorded career-highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds while Earnest Ross added 12 points and nine boards, but it wasn't enough as Auburn lost a 70-69 heartbreaker in overtime to UNC Asheville before in the inaugural game in Auburn Arena on Friday. Freshman Allen Payne had 14 points for the Tigers.
Auburn (0-1) enjoyed its largest lead of 18 points at 39-21 with 18:35 remaining, but point guard Josh Wallace picked up two quick fouls just 12 seconds later and went to the bench.
UNC Asheville began its monumental comeback by scoring nine straight points to close to within 39-30 four minutes later. Auburn went a span of 5:07 without scoring. The Tigers pushed their lead to 11 at 44-33 and then had a 12 point lead at 60-48 with 3:57 remaining in the game.
"Inexperience showed," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "We are what we are. I thought we played hard. I thought for the most part we battled for the majority of the game, but the bottom line is our lack of experience showed, and Asheville's experience showed. They have their starting lineup back, and they have seven of the top eight or eight of their top nine, and we've got a bunch of guys that haven't been in that position.
"My job is to change the culture. That's why I'm here. I told these guys `losing is not your fate. It's not your fate. So, don't accept it.'"
The Tigers even led 62-54 with 1:44 left, but J.P. Primm sank a 3-pointer, and Matt Dickey sank a pair of free throws with 1:07 to go to close to within 62-59. Payne split a pair of foul shots to put the Tigers up four with 58 seconds on the clock, but D.J. Cunningham had a tip-in with 36 seconds left.
Wallace stepped out of bounds catching the in-bounds pass. Primm missed a pair of foul shots, but John Williams had the huge tip-in off the missed free throw to tie it with 28 seconds to go. Ross missed a 3-pointer for the win in regulation.
Jaron Lane made a layup to open the extra period to give the Bulldogs their first lead since 12-10 eight minutes into the game. UNC Asheville (1-0) pushed its lead to its largest of the game at 70-65 on a 3-pointer by Williams, but Gabriel drilled a 3-pointer to bring the Tigers to within 70-69 with 1:57 to go.
"We stopped executing, we stopped rebounding," said Gabriel. "Mentally and physically, we just didn't execute. That's all it was."
Auburn ended up having a chance to tie it as Ross rebounded a Williams missed layup with 14 seconds left, but Wallace drove the lane and turned the ball over.
The Tigers used a 10-0 run to take a 20-12 lead with 8:14 before halftime and increased it to as much as 37-19 before going into intermission up 37-21 before the sold out crowd of 9,121. Auburn had a 30-15 rebounding edge in the first period.
Andre Malone added 11 points, five rebounds and three steals for Auburn while Wallace had nine points and five assists and Rob Chubb pulled down 10 rebounds. The Tigers outshot UNC Asheville 37.3 percent to 34.5 percent from the field and 6-of-16 (.375) to 7-of-21 (.333) from 3-point range but were only 19-of-34 (.559) from the foul line compared to 23-of-33 (.697) for the Bulldogs.
Matt Dickey, a junior from Birmingham's Hewitt-Trussville High School, led the Bulldogs with 18 points.
Auburn outrebounded Asheville 50-38 but the Bulldogs scored 24 points off 20 Tiger turnovers.
Auburn takes a week off before playing three games in three days as it hosts the Global Sports Hoops Showcase at Auburn Arena Nov. 19-21. The tournament schedule includes on Nov. 19 Campbell vs. Middle Tennessee State at 5 pm followed by Samford at Auburn at 7:30 pm; Nov. 20 Samford vs. Middle Tennessee State at 2 pm followed by Campbell at Auburn at 4:30 pm; and Nov. 21 Samford vs. Campbell at 2 pm followed by Middle Tennessee State at Auburn at 5 pm.