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Auburn basketball wants to come up big against Xavier
Dec. 19, 2014

Auburn's Trayvon Reed does work around the basket

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Bruce Pearl can envision teaming Double-Double Cinmeon Bowers with 7-foot-2 Trayvon Reed to let them play havoc around the basket.

That would be fun.

Alas, the Auburn basketball coach says that day probably isn't Saturday against Xavier, for he's still trying to work Reed, the newcomer, and Alex Thompson, who just returned to the team, into the playing rotation, considering they've combined for just three games this season.

Auburn turned in one of its most complete games in Wednesday's 80-62 win over Winthrop when Bowers and Reed did some good work inside, though they weren't on the court at the same time.

"To get our best players on the floor, is that possible, can that happen this year? Sure, it can happen this year," Pearl said. "If Trayvon and Cinmeon warrant more minutes, it's definitely a possibility. I just don't know that from a learning curve that we're ready."

Pearl says Xavier will be the best team the Tigers have faced when they meet at 5 p.m. in Auburn Arena. Auburn is 4-5. Xavier is 8-2, having already beaten Missouri and Alabama this season, and has won 13 of its last 17 games against SEC teams.

Reed has played all of two games, but showed marked improvement in the last one with eight rebounds, two blocks and altering a handful of Winthrop shots. Thompson has played one game on his return from last season, getting eight points and six rebounds. Antoine Mason, a bona fide scorer, has played in just two games  the first one and the last one, when he scored 14.

Bowers has recorded six double-doubles and is coming off a 19-point, 17-rebound effort in Wednesday's win over Winthrop.

Pearl will be looking for more of that when Auburn faces Xavier in the second of five straight home games before opening SEC play at Vanderbilt. 

Guard Malcolm Canada says the mixing and matching of lineups will succeed.

"With Antoine back, it is not like we have missed a beat, because we had him through the offseason. Same thing with Alex. We knew him already. We knew what he could bring to the table," Canada said. "The only new person to the family is Trayvon. It has been working out easier that what we had thought because he fits in. He knows he can fit in on this team. He is not looking for a big role. He is willing to learn so it is easy to bond with these guys.”
It's also easy to watch a 7-foot-2 guy defend the basket.

"I believe it hasn't sunk in with all of us. It is great to have that back there. If we get blown by, we have a rim protector now. It is a good feeling to have now," Canada said.

Reed is tall, but he's not a heavyweight at 230 pounds. But Pearl likes moxie. "He's competing and not afraid."

"The other thing too is he's been a really good teammate so far. He is likeable, has been coachable, his teammates have embraced him in a short period of time. There is just something about when he is on the floor. He gives us a defensive presence."

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



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