Nassau, The Bahamas--The Auburn basketball Tigers wrapped up their two-game exhibition tour on Thursday night with an 88-60 victory over The Bahamas All-Stars.
K.T. Harrell, a junior guard who redshirted last season after transferring from the University of Virginia, led the Tigers in scoring with 21 points. Another guard, senior Chris Denson, contributed 19 points to the victory.
“It felt good to just go out there and do what I do and be a leader offensively,” said Harrell, who hit three three-pointers. “I am an all-around player. It’s not all about scoring. I try and do everything I can to help the team win. Tonight I was definitely an offensive threat and it felt good.”
Harrell, who is from Montgomery, scored 13 of his points in the second half.
Senior center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum led the Tigers on the boards with nine rebounds. Freshman Mathew Atewe and Benas Griciunas each added six rebounds apiece for Coach Tony Barbee’s Tigers.
“I thought our defensive intensity and our defensive IQ was a little bit better tonight,” Barbee said. “We thought ahead, we were a little more alert and a little more aware. Obviously, offensively we didn’t shoot it quite as well, but we didn’t settle. We made plays for each other.”
Another transfer, junior forward Chris Griffin, followed up his game-high 24-point performance on Tuesday in a 99-63 victory over the Real Deal Shockers with seven points and five rebounds.
Freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen scored nine points while freshman guard Dion Wade and senior forward Allen Payne contributed eight points apiece. Wade hit a pair of treys.
Playing international rules that feature quarters, Auburn took control early against an opponent that had given the Maryland Terps problems earlier in the week.
Auburn led 26-13 after the first period and stretched the lead to 41-24 at halftime. The Tigers were up by 24 points after three quarters at 66-42.
“We were strong on the perimeter,” Barbee said. “We have guys that can make shots, guys that can make plays. Our big guys were really productive, too, on the glass.
“I think we have a good combination of big guys, guards and wings,” the coach added. “We have depth, good length and we have a chance to play a variety of different styles.”
The exhibition games were part of The Bahamas Basketball Federation Summer of Thunder Tournament in which college teams from across the U.S. are playing teams from the island nation. The trip allowed the Tigers to get a very early start on practice.
“This summer has been really good for us,” Harrell said. “As a team we have gotten so much closer. This has been the best summer that I have been a part of as far as camaraderie and how close we have gotten.
“This trip has helped us a lot,” the guard added. “Practice has been great, we have gotten better execution-wise. Everyone knows what we are planning to do and our identity so this has been really good.”
Barbee agreed with Harrell and said, “More so than winning the two games it was the process of really laying the foundation for this program. This summer was huge, it was the best summer we have had since I have been at Auburn in terms of the production we have gotten out of everyone individually and how they have worked collectively. We have really become a family.”
Other scorers for the Tigers included Gricinunas with five, Jordon Granger with four, Atewe with three and Malcolm Canada with two.
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