Feb. 28, 2014
Auburn's Tahj Shamsid-Deen goes for the layup, but he can go long range, too. (Zach Bland photo)
|Matchup||Auburn (13-13, 5-10 SEC) at Alabama (11-17, 5-10) | Game Notes|
|Date & Time||Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m. CT|
|Tickets||Buy Tickets Online | Men's Basketball Ticket Information|
|Broadcasts||TV: ESPNU | Radio: WGZZ 94.3 FM | SIRIUS 92 | XM 199|
|Online|| Webcast | Live Audio | Live Stats | Twitter: @AUbasketball
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Tony Barbee calls Alabama veteran Trevor Releford a "once-in-a-lifetime-kind of point guard." But the Auburn coach has a point guard on a pretty good run, too.
Freshman Tahj Shamsid-Deen has been showing off his 3-point shot lately and will help lead the Tigers against Alabama at 2 p.m. Saturday in Tuscaloosa with the simple directive of running the team again.
"He has to continue to do what he has done," Barbee said. "He's gotten progressively better. He has to make some shots for us like he did the last game, but he has to continue to run our team."
Shamsid-Deen has nine 3-pointers in the last three games, the best stretch of his young career, to raise his season total to 35. He hit three in quick succession to start the second half against South Carolina on Wednesday to help keep the Gamecocks at a safe distance.
Auburn was winless in the SEC the first time it played Alabama, but beat the Tide 74-55 on Jan 29. Playing Alabama was the beginning of a turnaround. Auburn is 5-4 the SEC beginning with that game. Alabama is 2-7. Auburn has continued to ride the same starting lineup and is 13-13 overall and 5-10 in the league. Alabama has moved things around because of injuries and is 11-17 overall and also 5-10 in the SEC.
Both teams will try to finish strong enough in the last three regular-season games to avoid a first-round SEC Tournament game.
"We have played well in spurts and obviously we played well in the first Alabama game," Barbee said. "Obviously, they are completely different. They are playing a different lineup and playing a different style from when we saw them the first game. It's going to be like facing a completely new team."
The one thing that remains the same: Trevor Releford.
"He does everything well and he doesn't have weaknesses in his game," Barbee said. "He shoots the ball from range, he creates off the dribble. He can score left-handed or right-handed. He is good in transition. Obviously he plays with the poise and confidence of a senior. He has been good for our league and obviously he has been good for Alabama."
Releford is averaging 18.9 points per game and is Alabama's all-time steals leader. Shamsid-Deen is joining Chris Denson and KT Harrell as a guy who can score, maybe in time for the SEC Tournament.
"We are fighting to the last game, whenever that is," Denson said. "We are going into every game trying to win it. Especially for the younger guys and for coach. We are doing it for them. We are going to the SEC Tournament with a chip on our shoulder. As coach said the other day, no one wants to see us in the SEC Tournament with how we are on fire right now."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTihgers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine