AU Basketball closes out Bahamas tour with 88-60 win

The Auburn basketball team closed out its summer tour of The Bahamas with an 88-60 win over the Bahamas All-Stars in the Bahamas Basketball Federation Summer of Thunder Tournament on Thursday. KT Harrell led Auburn with 21 points while Chris Denson added 19. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum worked the boards for nine rebounds on the night.

"I thought our defensive intensity and our defensive IQ was a little bit better tonight," Auburn head coach Tony 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."

Auburn never trailed in the game, taking a 13-point lead (26-13) after the first quarter, a 17-point lead at the half (41-24) and a 24-point lead after the third quarter (66-42) before finishing up by 28.

Harrell did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 13 points after intermission. The junior guard finished with three three-pointers on the night while freshman Dion Wade hit two threes.

"It felt good to just go out there and do what I do and be a leader offensively," Harrell said, "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."

Auburn's scoring attack was a balanced one. After Denson's 19, the next highest scorer was Tahj Shamsid-Deen, who had nine points, while Allen Payne joined Wade with eight points.

Freshmen Matthew Atewe and Benas Griciunas also had big nights on the boards, each grabbing six rounds.

"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. We have depth, good length and we have a chance to play a variety of different styles."

With the summer practice schedule now complete, Barbee and the team has used its extra practice time to continue to bond.

"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. 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."

"More so than winning the two games it was the process of really laying the foundation for this program," Barbee said. "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."

The team returns to Auburn on Friday.

Asauhn Dixon-Tatum – 2pts, 9 rebounds

KT Harrell – 21 points

Allen Payne – 8 points

Chris Denson, 19 points

Dion Wade – 8 points

Tahj Shamsid-Deen – 9 points

Matthew Atewe – 3 points, 6 rebounds

Malcolm Canada – 2 points

Chris Griffin – 7 points, 5 rebounds

Jordon Granger – 4 points

Benas Griciunas – 5 points, 6 rebounds

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn Athletics Dept.