Tigers Fall to Rutgers at DIRECTV SEC/Big East Invitational
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Kenny Gabriel
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Kenny Gabriel
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

Dec. 11, 2010

Box Score

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Pittsburgh, Pa. -- Kenny Gabriel scored a game-high 18 points and Earnest Ross notched his second double-double of the season with 15 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and five assists but Auburn's comeback fell short in a 63-54 loss to Rutgers in the DirecTV SEC-Big East Invitational in the Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

Auburn (3-5) scored the first seven points of the game as Rutgers missed its first 12 shots from the field. The Scarlet Knights didn't make their first field goal until a James Beatty 3-pointer seven minutes into the game. The basket cut the Tigers' lead to 11-7 and ignited a 15-0 Rutgers run for a 19-11 edge with 9:13 left in the half. Auburn went scoreless for 5:26.

"It's what I told the team after the game," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "I was proud of them the way they fought back. The issues we are having is believing that you're supposed to win the game. It doesn't mean that you are going to win them all, but you have to believe.

"It was a three possession game with a minute and a half to go. That's an eternity, and we have guys with their heads hanging. They just don't understand that the game is never over until that final horn."

Leading 29-24 at the half, Rutgers (6-2) scored the first eight points to extend its lead to 37-24 just over three minutes into the second period. Auburn closed to within 39-32 with 13 minutes remaining, but then went scoreless for 7:13 as Rutgers pushed its lead to as much as 51-34.

The Tigers hung tough by outscoring the Scarlet Knights 16-6 to close to within 57-50 with 1:34 to go on a Gabriel 3-pointer. Gabriel scored eight points during the stretch.

Andre Malone scored 10 points for Auburn while Tony Neysmith had six and Rob Chubb five. Dane Miller led Rutgers with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Jonathan Mitchell added 14 points and James Beatty 13.

Both teams shot poorly from the field as Auburn went 30.2 percent from the field and Rutgers was 33.9. The Scarlet Knights outrebounded the Tigers 46-33, including a 20-2 advantage in second chance points on 17 offensive rebounds compared to the Tigers' nine. Auburn did shoot 80 percent from the foul line, making 16-of-20.

"We didn't get outrebounded, we got dominated on the backboard," said Barbee. "We played well enough defensively to win this game. We held them to 33 percent, and they had 17 offensive rebounds. If they just get half of those offensive rebounds, we win the ball game."

Auburn plays its second consecutive road game against a Big East Conference team as it plays at South Florida on Wednesday at 8 pm Central on ESPNU.