News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

At full strength, AU drills Tenn. St.

By Bradley Handwerger
Bradley Handwerger 340-2462

AUBURN — Jeff Lebo can claim 71 games as Auburn's head basketball coach.

And in only one has he had 11 scholarship players available.

On Tuesday night, for the first time in the Lebo era, he had a full bench to pick and choose from, and he couldn't have gotten a much better result.

Auburn throttled visiting Tennessee State 86-59 in preparation of Friday's showdown at home against No. 13 Texas A&M.

"I told the guys in practice we'll be back to full steam here. 'You don't get out there and perform and execute, you're going to sit.' That's the first time we've had that here," Lebo said.

Korvotney Barber finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for Auburn (9-3), and Josh Dollard scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had seven assists.

But they weren't the story.

Instead, mark down Auburn's sudden depth as the story of Tuesday night.

Freshman Kelvin Lewis played 19 minutes in his second game back from a broken bone in his foot, finishing with 10 points and two assists. And junior Quan Prowell, in his first game in nearly a year and a half, finished with six points and three rebounds in nine minutes before fouling out.

For Prowell, he simply enjoyed getting back on the court. He had to sit out a year ago because of NCAA transfer rules, and was suspended for a violation of team rules for the first 11 games.

"I had a couple of jitterbugs," said Prowell, who played two seasons at Furman before heading to Auburn. "I got them out pretty soon and got back in the flow. It's just unfortunate I fouled out."

The game never seemed in doubt.

The teams traded leads in the first three minutes, and then Auburn steadily took over.

Auburn took a 6-4 lead on a Frank Tolbert 3-pointer, one
of 34 Auburn shot on the night. Barber extended the lead to six on a dunk and a layup.

Auburn moved out to as many as 11 points ahead, and the lead stayed with nine to
13 points the rest of the first half.

With 12:25 to play in the second half, Auburn's lead hit 20 on a free throw by Dollard. At the 7:28 mark, Auburn took a 32-point lead when Dollard sank a 3-pointer.

The Tigers shot 48.5 percent despite going 11 of 34 from beyond the 3-point line. They had 26 assists for the night.

"I don't think we really shot the ball great," Lebo said.

"But we moved the ball and got the open looks. About a week ago, we started to pass the ball much better. We haven't played against severe heat yet, but we'll get that the next game."

Moraye Ivy led TSU (4-5) with 15 points, and Ladarious Weaver added 13.

Alabama (9-1) at N.C. State (9-2)

Tipoff: Today at 5 p.m. at The RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Alabama lineup: F Alonzo Gee, 6-6, So., 16.4 ppg., 5.0 rpg.; F Richard Hendrix, 6-8, So., 14.4 ppg., 8.6 rpg.; C Jermareo Davidson, 6-10, Sr., 16.1 ppg., 10.6 rpg.; G Brandon Hollinger, 5-11, So., 3.9 ppg., 3.5 assists; G Ronald Steele, 6-3, Jr.,10.9 ppg., 4.3 assists.

N.C. State lineup: F Ben McCauley, 6-9, So. 14.2 ppg., 5.8 rpg.; F Gavin Grant, Jr. 16.6 ppg., 5.4 rpg F Brandon Costner, 6-8, Fr., 15.2 ppg., 7.3 rpg; G Courtney Fells, 6-1, So., 11.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg; G Engin Atsur, 6-4 Sr., 13.8 ppg., 4.2 assists.

Noteworthy: After a week of being ranked ninth in the country, Alabama slipped down to the 10th spot in the national polls. ... Alabama doesn't know how limited Steele will be with his ankle and knee injuries. ... Davidson came back last week against Southern Mississippi after missing the previous game against Alabama State because of academic reasons. He finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots. He isn't expected to miss any more games for rest of the season.

Josh Cooper, Daily Sports Writer

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