Dec. 29, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. --
Tony Barbee is looking for scoring down the lineup before heading into SEC play (AP photo)
Chris Denson and KT Harrell form the most prolific scoring tandem in the SEC, but Auburn coach Tony Barbee wants even more.
If two players can score in double figures, why not more?
"I keep saying that this is a team that should have five guys in double figures," Barbee said.
Denson is second in the SEC and leads Auburn in scoring at 19.2 points per game. Harrell, last week's SEC player of the week, is the Tigers' second-leading scorer at 19.1. The transfer from Virginia has scored in double figures in all nine games.
Barbee will be looking for more the same, and scoring farther down the roster, when Auburn meets Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 8 p.m. Monday in Auburn Arena.
Auburn is 6-3 and coming off a sweep of ACC teams Clemson and Boston College. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which has played a home game, is 2-9.
Point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen is next in line to hit in double figures. He's averaging 9.2 points per game. Barbee who is also looking to Chris Griffin, who has been limited to four games because of injury.
"I think he is one of those guys that can get into that mold," Barbee said. "He hasn't shot the ball well since he has been back, but he is a guy that can really shoot the ball. I think that will come as he gets his legs under him."
Auburn has been playing its schedule in two-game segments. The Tigers lost to Iowa State and Illinois one week. Then it beat Clemson and Boston College the next week. Now, Auburn is playing Pine Bluff on Monday and Florida A&M on Saturday, the final games before opening SEC play at Ole Miss on Jan. 9.
"I told the guys we are taking steps in a positive direction," Barbee said. "Every day we are in practice, we are getting better and it is showing in our play. But I said ultimately we strive to be playing our best basketball sometime as we get to the mid-stretch of conference play. You want to be playing good basketball as you get into conference play, and I think we are heading in that direction.
"I keep talking to them that right now there is about 40 percent left in our capacity that we haven't tapped into yet. I talked about what those things are with the team. I said everyday let's find a way to close the gap on that 40 percent and that's the way you get to playing your best basketball."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: