Tigers hit bottom at Vandy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's been 60 years since an Auburn basketball team was so inept offensively.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee takes the blame

The Tigers staggered and stumbled to a 65-35 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday at Memorial Gym. It was the lowest production for an Auburn team since a 79-35 loss at Kentucky on Jan. 5, 1951.

Auburn managed just 16 first-half points in an 89-56 blowout loss at Florida State on Wednesday. Against Vanderbilt, the Tigers scored 19 in the first half and 16 in the second in dropping their Southeastern Conference opener in embarrassing fashion.

Auburn made just 15-of-55 shots for 27.3 percent. It was worse at the free throw line, where the Tigers were 2-of-10 for 20 percent. Chris Denson was the leading scorer with a mere 7 points. Auburn's starting five combined to score just 19 points.

Second-year Auburn coach Tony Barbee put the blame on himself.

“The bottom line is I’m doing an awful job,” Barbee said. “This one is on me. Last year, we were not very talented, not SEC-level talent. Our talent level hasn’t changed much. We got them to play above what they were last season. I am doing an awful job, because we are not doing that this year.”

John Jenkins scored 17 points, Jeffery Taylor 16 and Brad Tinsley 12 to lead Vanderbilt, which hit 13-of-29 from 3-point range.

After Varez Ward made a 3-pointer, Vanderbilt (10-4, 1-0) scored 10 straight points in 1:43 to take an 11-3 lead in the opening four minutes. The Commodores made their first five 3-point attempts and only missed one field goal of their first nine as they closed out an 8-0 run. racing to a 24-9 lead almost halfway through the first half.

Auburn (10-5, 0-1) scored six straight points to close to within 30-17 with seven minutes left but that is as close as the Tigers would get the rest of the way.

It doesn't get any easier for the Tigers. The return home to play No. 2 Kentucky on Wednesday at the Auburn Arena.

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  • IMHO smart and innovative coaching always makes the difference no matter what team sport you're talking about. Great players, for the most part, gravitate toward great coaches. Look no further than what Bobby Bowden accomplished at FSU. He took a program and built it from almost nothing to one of the best programs in the country in about 10 years. How he did it would be a great subject for a book but i think, in part, he was able to inspire his team and convince them they could play with anyone. They were everyone's homecoming opponent when he started but he instilled in them a special killer instinct and the belief that if they would do all he asked of them they could beat anyone on their home field. It wasn't long before they were no longer anyone's HC opponent. By the 90s they were recruiting like AL is now.

    Another example is what Erk Russell did at Ga Southern. Coaching matters...and staying hungry!

    "Brick by brick, my citizens. Brick by brick"

  • I love to watch college basketball (followed AU closely and attended many games over the years) and I've watched a lot of it over the years but I'm no expert. From my ignorant perspective it seems that someone needs to think long term about what kind of Bball program AU wants to have, can have consistent success with and devise a plan to get us there.

    I hope JJ is listening.

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  • I certainly don't charge the fans with being responsible for the teams performance, only charge the fans with misunderstanding reality. You don't start beating tough teams one year after scrapeing the bottom end of the conference barrel. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a basketball program that has been allowed to go on w/o effective leadership for many years. On top of that, a team needs on floor leadership, any team, engaged in an activity that needs all the participants performing well. I don't think that comes out of a box of crackerjacks either. I'd be a little hesitant about advising Coach Barbee on what he needs to do. Might seem a bit arrogant to some who understand the blame game. Yes, Auburn got beat badly by two programs doing well. Why? Auburn players at least need seasoning and a more talented bench. That may take only one year, if the team starts out with a winning record. Starting from a losing record, it may take several. What has happened was not surprising to Phillip Marshall, or John Smith. Coach Barbee has recruited some talent, and needs more. Not exactly surprising to anyone. Why the uproar?

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