AUBURN - As Auburn's basketball team tries to break a three-game losing streak, third-year coach Tony Barbee says it might have a different look when No. 24 Ole Miss visit Auburn Arena tonight.
Ashaud Dixon-Tatum likely to get ade playing time tonight
The Tigers have to deal with hot-shooting guard Marshall Henderson, but they also have to establish a stronger presence inside. Barbee said that might mean playing 6-foot-10 senior Rob Chubb and 7-foot junior college transfer Ashaud Dixon-Tatum together.
“We have been talking about it, as a staff, looking for anything right now that can spark this team,” Barbee said. “We have gotten into a little bit of a rut, so it could be something we see this game.”
Though Henderson's 19.4 points per game are gaudy, it's the inside work of 6-foot-7,240-pound senior Murphy Holloway (15.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg) and 6-9, 235-pound senior Reginald Buckner (10.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) that could provide the most severe test for the Tigers. Their presence provides opening for Henderson.
"They are a fantastic frontline, not just the best in the conference but in the country," Barbee said. "What Henderson has brought to their team is immense. Not only do they have one of the best front lines in the country, but they have a dynamic scorer who is capable of going and getting 40 at any time. That's why they are undefeated in the league."
The Rebels enter the game 16-2 overall and 5-2 in the SEC. Auburn is 8-10 and 2-3. Tipoff time is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised by FSN.
Barbee is trying to find the right way to integrate junior guard Chris Denson and sophomore Jordan Price into the rotation. They returnee for the past two games from stress fracture injuries and have been ineffective. Before their injuries, they were combining to average 23 points per game.
“Trying to get those guys back in a rhythm has hurt us a little bit in terms of our chemistry," Barbee said. "It was probably more on me than them. I probably shouldn’t have played them the last two games. They are saying they are ready, but as I watch them on tape they weren’t ready physically in terms of being game-sharp ready.
“I probably should have stayed with the lineup we had been going with, but we have got to get those guys back and get them going for us to make a run here down the stretch."
Frankie Sullivan scores 17.2 points per game, gets 4.4 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game to lead Auburn. Chubb averages 10.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Dixon Tatum averages 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in limited action.