Barbee: "Huge Step Backwards"

Chris Denson shoots for the Tigers.

The Auburn men's basketball team saw its winning streak end on Saturday night.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's three-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday night and Coach Tony Barbee said the Tigers had nobody to blame other than themselves as Auburn fell 74-67 to the Winthrop Eagles.

"Obviously, we weren't thinking about defending because they shot 50 percent from the floor, a team that shot 35 percent from the floor against every Division I team they have played this year," Barbee said.

"We didn't guard--bottom line," Barbee stated. "They were interested in guarding. That is why they won the game."

Shooting was the difference in the game. Auburn hit 23-60 field goals for 38.3 percent while the Eagles hit 24-49 field goals for 49.0 percent. Winthrop hit 7-25 threes while Auburn made just 3-23.

Auburn's record falls to 5-6 on the season while Winthrop is now 5-5.

"It is a huge step back, a huge lack of maturity," Barbee said of his basketball team. "It is a huge lack of leadership. They had a bunch of wide open shots."

Auburn out-rebounded Winthrop 34-29 and turned the ball over 13 times, six fewer than the visitors.

Frankie Sullivan scored 22 points to lead the Tigers, but hit only 4-17 field goals and 2-11 treys. He did most of his damage at the foul line where he made 12-12 shots for the Tigers, who finished the night hitting 18-21 free throws.

Winthrop put four players in double figures with guard Joab Jerome leading the way with 16 points.

"It came down to this the whole night--I am over there begging, pleading, yelling and screaming at those guys to defend tonight and they had no interest in defending," Barbee said.

Frankie Sullivan drives to the basket vs. the Eagles.

Winthrop led most of the first half, building the margin to as many as eight points at the 12:11 mark.

The Tigers pulled even with 2:21 left to play in the period as Shaquille Johnson scored on a fastbreak dunk on a pass from Sullivan.

The two teams were tied at intermission with Denson leading the Tigers with 11 of his team's 33 points while Sullivan scored nine in the first half.

Auburn shot 43.3 percent in the first half as the Tigers hit 13-30 field goals and just 1-11 threes. The Eagles made 12-26 first half field goals for 46.2 percent and made 2-12 treys.

Auburn took the lead early in the second half, but Christian Farmer got hot from three-point range and led the Eagles on a run the Tigers never recovered from. Winthrop stretched the lead to 16 points midway through the half at the 9:54 mark.

"Chris Farmer got loose and made some unbelievable threes for us," Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey. "That was huge hitting threes in transition and he even got a four-point play."

Auburn cut the lead to 70-65 with 49 seconds left on a pair of free throws by Sullivan and 70-67 on a basket by Allen Payne, but the Eagles' made four clutch free throws to ice the victory.

Sullivan said the Tigers didn't play hard enough to win until the final minutes of the game, but by then it was too late. "We just came out real flat today and paid for it big-time," he said.

Chris Denson scored 18 points, but no other player was in double figures for the Tigers. "I just felt like we were sluggish," Denson said. "I guess everybody was waiting for the (Christmas) break. We were a step behind in everything."

Starting Five: Barbee stayed with the lineup from his team's three-game winning streak. The group included Allen Payne, Rob Chubb, Chris Denson, Shaquille Johnson and Frankie Sullivan.

Jordan Price: The freshman's streak of 11 consecutive makes on treys ended with his first shot in the second half. For the game he shot just three times and scored two points.

Post Play: Barbee was upset with his team's post play calling it "non-existent." Starting center Chubb scored eight points and added five rebounds. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum added six points and four rebounds.

"We can't catch it in the post and when we catch it in there we can't finish," the coach said.

Denson scored 18 points, but no other player was in double figures.

Holiday Break: The Tigers don't play again until next Saturday when the take play Illinois. The game will tip off at 1:15 at the United Center in Chicago.

Game Statistics

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