We finally got our first SEC win against a God awful auburn team. I was concerned that the team would throw in the towel after the 0-4 start, but it is obvious that was not the case.
Hollinger got the start over Rico at PG and did a great job. Rico came in off the bench and also ran a nearly flawless point. We ended the game with an incredible 18 assists to 4 turnovers. The most encouraging part of the game was our 3 point shooting. We had been in an awful funk from downtown, but Hollinger, Riley, and Gee really stepped up and shot the ball well today.
Our perimeter defense was much better, although auburn did miss some open shots. We did a good job of changing defenses at the right time to prevent auburn from getting into any kind of rhythm. I particularly liked the way we extended both our man to man and our 1-2-2 zone way out beyond the perimeter to challenge auburn's first pass. This lead to some steals and easy layups on the other end.
Senario is still not a consistent scoring threat, but he showed that he can give us a good spark off the bench. His dunk over auburn's #4 with the and one may be the best dunk I've ever seen. It's definitely right up there with Jason Reece dunking on auburn a few years ago.
Hendrix was unstoppable but his playing time was limited due to foul trouble. It was nice to see us stretch the lead while playing their game. I never thought we would win a 3 point shooting contest with them, but that's pretty much what we did. At one point in the second half, we had no big men on the floor.
When Hendrix was in the game, I thought we did a good job of trying to run our offense through him. We got some open looks from our inside-outside game. We got scoring from every position on the floor, with the exception of Demetrius Jemison who scored the games 1st point but was then shut out before fouling out.
The game would have been over at halftime if we could just shoot a $#%$%@! free throw. It's way beyond frustrating at this point.
We missed a golden opportunity to get some guys some experience today. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Justin Tubbs to get some real work on his shot and maybe get his confidence back up. It would have also been a good chance to get Justin Knox some badly needed game experience. Unfortunately, they both sat on the bench the entire game. When we took a 30 point lead in the second half, the lineup should have featured Rico, Hillman, Tubbs, and Knox, in my opinion. I fail to understand why we would put Hendrix back in for the final minutes of a blowout win.
The crowd was much better today than I expected. I was expecting a lot more no shows, but I would estimate a crowd of approximately 12,000. There were a few auburn fans in attendance, but they were not nearly as numerous or obnoxious as the bunch $tate brought. Our crowd was much more loud and enthusiastic from the tip. I really don't understand why the majority of our fans do not realize that m$u is our biggest rival in basketball, but it was nice to have some positive energy in Coleman for a change. Despite the large crowd, at least in my general area, it seemed that a lot of season ticket holders either sold or gave their tickets away. None of the "regulars" in the area around my Tide Pride seats were present, and the folks in front of me even allowed their tickets to be used by auburn fans.
Up next, Bruce Pearl brings his top 10 Tennessee team to Tuscaloosa Tuesday. Tip-off is at 8pm and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN. As we speak, I'm watching Tennessee play uga and they've held the bulldogs to 9 points in the first 11 minutes with their press. Wonder what would have happened if we would have pressed uga in athens, but I digress. This will be a very tough game for us, as we have had problems handling the press, and ut is an extremely athletic and energetic team. Still, they are not unbeatable, as Kentucky proved at Rupp arena. If we could somehow or another find a way to win, it could be a turning point in this season. Fans are encouraged to wear white. I'll be there, but I'm wearing crimson because I think the white-out thing is stupid, and we've lost everytime I have participated in the past.