Nov. 28, 2011
AUBURN - Chris Denson scored 17 points and Kenny Gabriel added 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to lead Auburn to a 72-59 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Auburn Arena on Monday to improve to 4-0 on the season. Frankie Sullivan added 14 points, going 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
A 20-2 run over the final 3:23 of the first half lifted Auburn to a 44-25 lead at the break. Sullivan led the way in the rally with three 3-pointers as the Tigers widened their lead from three to 19 points. Auburn hit 8-of-11 3-pointers in the first half, but connected on just 1-of-4 attempts after halftime to finish the game at 60 percent (9-of-15).
"We were sluggish the whole night," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "Until we start to enjoy playing hard, playing tough and nasty, we are going to look sluggish. We do not enjoy playing that way right now. We think that it is about trying to outscore people and that is not going to do anything but get you beat. I am happy that we won, but we have a long way to go until we get better."
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-4) got as close as 49-39 on a Daniel Broughton tip-in five minutes into the second half to cap a 12-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Kyle Jones, who finished with 15 points. A lay-up by Rob Chubb followed by a dunk from Gabriel gave Auburn a 16-point lead with less than two minutes to go.
"I think we're more disappointed in ourselves," said Sullivan. "You see nobody smiling about this game because we're not playing to our full potential. We're moving backwards right now, and I really don't know why. We're not playing hard enough, getting our big guys in foul trouble, and that's not what we're trying to do. What we're trying to do this year is establish ourselves as defensive stoppers and playing mean and tough and gritty. We're not doing that right now, and we're not satisfied at all with ourselves."
The Tigers posted double-digit blocks for the second-straight game. After setting a program record with 17 on Friday against Nicholls State, Auburn had 10 against the Golden Lions. Savalace Townsend led Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 24 points, and Broughton had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Auburn outshot Arkansas-Pine Bluff 52.0 percent to 37.7 percent but was outrebounded 34-33.
Auburn returns to action in its first road game of the season at Seton Hall in the Big East-SEC Challenge on Friday at 8 p.m. Central in the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on ESPNU.