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Auburn basketball looks for positives, turnaround at A&M

March 7, 2014

Auburn's Asauhn Dixon-Tatum found the basket against Tennessee (Zach Bland photo)

 Auburn Basketball
 Matchup  Auburn (13-15, 5-12 SEC) at Texas A&M (17-13, 8-9 SEC) | Game Notes
 Date & Time  Saturday, March 8 at 3 P.M. CT
 Location  Auburn Arena | GameDay Info (Parking, Seating Chart, etc.)
 Tickets  Buy Tickets Online | Men's Basketball Ticket Information
 Broadcasts  TV: SEC-TV | Radio: WGZZ 94.3 FM • SIRIUS 138 • XM 198
 Online  Webcast | Live Audio | Live Stats | Twitter: @AUbasketball
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Don't look past Tahj Shamsid-Deen and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum. 

The freshman point guard and the senior center are looking to finish the basketball season on a positive note, and laid the foundation for that when they combined for 29 points and seven rebounds in Wednesday's otherwise difficult loss to Tennessee. 

They'll look to add to their totals in Saturday's 3 p.m. game at Texas A&M. 

Shamsid-Deen hit five 3-pointers and matched his career high with 17 against the Volunteers. Dixon-Tatum's 12 points matched his season high, coming on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Alas, their night was lonely. The rest of the Tigers scored only 25. Chris Denson, who was leading the SEC in scoring last weekend, scored only three. 

"Chris knows how important these last couple of games are for his career, so I think he'll have a different mindset this coming game...extremely focused against Texas A&M and the SEC Tournament," Shamsid-Deen said.  "Chris is a great player and he'll definitely will get through it, and we need him. He knows we need him to score buckets and make plays for us. I think he'll definitely going to do that." 

Auburn was hampered by impossibly slow starts against Alabama and Tennessee in the last two games, and will carry a 13-15 overall record and a 5-12 SEC record to Tennessee. Texas A&M is 17-13 overall and 8-9 in the league. 

Shamsid-Deen has been one of Auburn's top scorers over the last few weeks, thanks to his late-season push shooting the 3. He has 15 3-pointers in the last five games, and one reason is Barbee has given him the license to shoot. 

"He tells me if I have an open look, take it, and not be so passive sometimes," Shamsid-Deen said. "I've been working on it, and it's been falling for me in the game." 

Barbee said Dixon-Tatum's good stats against Tennessee was a "confidence thing." 

"He's another guy who has transformed over the last month playing his best basketball. It's unfortunate we have some other individuals going the other way. If we can get them back, then we can make some noise down the stretch." 

The stretch now is Texas A&M on Saturday, and an SEC Tournament opener Wednesday in Atlanta. The opponent will be determined Saturday as the regular season plays out. 

"Win or lose, you want to be competitive in terms of giving yourself an opportunity," Barbee said. "We didn't do that the last two games. We were competitive, but we didn't give ourselves a chance. 

"If we can get some confidence going into the conference tournament, then anything can happen."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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