Barber, Auburn have close shave
By John Zenor
Associated Press Writer
MONTGOMERY — Auburn had Korvotney Barber scoring inside, Matt Heramb draining baskets from outside and nobody else hitting anything.
It was barely enough.
Barber scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half and Heramb added 17, both career-highs, to lead Auburn to a 63-60 victory over Alabama State on Friday.
Barber and Heramb supplied all the scoring during a 14-3 run that gave the Tigers (2-1) their first lead in nearly 20 minutes and accounted for all but two of Auburn's 28 second-half points.
The 6-foot-7 Barber did all of his damage around the basket while the 6-9 Heramb made 3-of-4 3-point attempts.
"What helped Vot more inside was Matt hit some shots from the outside," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "(Barber) got a lot of it on the offensive rebounds. He was terrific on the glass.
"He made some good moves with the ball on his jump hook."
They didn't just complement each other, they also teamed up for a big basket. Heramb's dunk off a pass from Barber capped the dominant spurt to make it 59-52 with 3:49 to play.
Brandon Brooks answered with a 3-pointer and Alabama State (2-1) forced a shot-clock violation and another turnover. Then, Brandon Gordon's pullup jumper made it 59-57 with 1:33 to play, but Barber darted through the lane for another basket and the Hornets missed three consecutive shots and had to foul.
Frank Tolbert hit two free throws with 11 seconds left for the Tigers, the only points scored by an Auburn player besides Barber and Heramb after the half.
Brooks hit another 3 with 2.6 seconds left and the Hornets were called for a foul before Auburn passed the ball inbounds. DeWayne Reed missed the free throw and Joel Bosh grabbed the rebound, dribbled a couple of times and threw up a long shot from before halfcourt that bounced off the back of rim to end Alabama's State hopes of an upset of its more high-profile in-state opponent.
Barber made 11-of-14 shots and had 10 rebounds. Heramb was 6-for-7 shooting after scoring just two points in Auburn's first two games and 23 all last season. He followed his coaches' advice to shoot more.
"In practice, I hadn't been shooting it," he said. "The coaches were telling me I need to start letting go. Tonight, I just kept letting them fly, and it felt like they were all going in."
The rest of the team was 7-of-29 shooting, including a 1-for-11 performance from Tolbert.
Alabama St. 60
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!