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West Alabama visits for exhibition opener

AUBURN --- Auburn will welcome West Alabama to town Wednesday night for the exhibition opener at the new Auburn Arena. Tony Barbee’s first Auburn team returns just one player with starting experience.

Tony Barbee/Todd Van Emst photo

“Obviously, number one we want to win, but more important than winning, we want to make sure that we are doing the things that we have to do to be successful this season,” Barbee said. “For us to be successful, we are going to have to be a scrappy defensive-minded, tough team.”

Sophomore guard Earnest Ross, who started eight games last year, is the leading returning player after averaging 2.8 points and 3.0 rebounds as a freshman.

Auburn’s starting lineup is expected to include walk-on Josh Wallace at point guard, Ross at shooting guard, junior Kenny Gabriel and true freshman Allen Payne at forward, and sophomore Rob Chubb at center.

Auburn’s starting five combined to average 8.1 points per game last season.

West Alabama returns preseason All-Gulf South Conference guard Alvin Mendenhall, who averaged 11.2 points last season shooting 44.7 percent from 3-point range.

Auburn’s top two returning players, junior guard Frankie Sullivan and sophomore forward Ty Armstrong, were lost for the season with knee injuries.

Tip-off at the Auburn Arena is 7 pm CT. Admission is free.

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