Jan. 30, 2014
Auburn's Chris Denson makes a move toward helping the Tigers win (USA Today photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — The stat sheet says Auburn's offense should be hard to handle with KT Harrell and Chris Denson forming one of the most potent scoring duos in the country.
Those guards are combining to average 37.9 points per game, and they've taken turns in leading Auburn in scoring every game this season.
Coach Tony Barbee wants more of the same, plus some help from his inside game, when Auburn plays Alabama tonight around 7:30 in Auburn Arena following the 5 p.m. women's game against Texas A&M. The Alabama game, delayed a day because of icy conditions, will feature the presentation of the ODK Sportsmanship Trophy, which goes to the winner of the Iron Bowl.
Auburn will collect that prize at halftime.
The Tigers will then be looking to knock off the Tide again, this time in basketball, as they did last year at home with Cam Newton cheeering them on. Barbee's first scoring option will be Harrell and Denson.
They are second in the SEC, and ninth in the nation, as a scoring tandem. Harrell is second in the SEC in scoring, averaging 19.1 points per game. Denson is fourth in the league, averaging 18.8 points.
"It is a good combination. Those two play well off each other," Barbee said this week. "They are different in their own way. Chris Denson is more of a slasher/driver and KT Harrell with the ability to play-make and his ability to shoot the ball from 3. He's shooting over 40 percent (from 3-point range), but he has the ability to attack the rim and finish with his size and strength and athleticism. They are as good as any scoring combo in the league."
Harrell has the muscle to play inside, but it's Denson who can be found driving head first to the basket against taller players. Case in point: Auburn's loss at Arkansas last Saturday when Denson hit 3-of-15 shots from the field, but finished with a team-high 18 points because he hit 12-of-17 tries from the free throw line after being fouled around the basket.
Still, Barbee continues to look for his centers and forwards to do more inside. So do the guards.
"We need contributions from everybody," Harrell said. "It's not going to be two-or-three people that are going to win a game every night. We need people to step up off the bench, not even points, we need loose balls, rebounds, all the little things. If we can get those things from our bench players and our role players we will win."
Auburn is 0-6 in the SEC. Alabama is 3-3.
Harrell says the Tigers have to shrug that off.
"We realize that we have lost a couple of games in a row and that's why we're out here working. We're trying to change that.
"You never want to lose games. As a player you can't get it back, you have to let it go. We are focused on this next game. We are going to work to try and get better and get prepared for Alabama."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: