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Auburn Basketball defeats South Carolina, 83-67

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Chris Denson scored 22 points to lead Auburn to an 83-67 win over South Carolina on Wednesday in Auburn Arena.

Allen Payne added 15 points, four rebounds and five steals, while Tahj Shamsid-Deen had 14 points and four assists to help Auburn (13-13, 5-10) to a season sweep of the Gamecocks.

In a game that featured a combined 53 personal fouls, Auburn shot 25-of-35 (71.4 percent) from the free throw line, including 16-of-19 (84.2 percent) in the second half to earn the victory.

South Carolina (10-18, 3-12) was led by Brenton Williams' 26 points on 5-of-9 shooting from outside.

The Tigers totaled 18 points off the bench on Wednesday, including nine from Dion Wade, the most since January 4 against Florida A&M. Wade also added four rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

KT Harrell scored 11 points to give Auburn four double-figure scorers on the night.

Auburn is in action next on Saturday when it visits in-state rival Alabama. Tip is set for 2 p.m. CT and the game will be televised by ESPNU.


Head Coach Tony Barbee

On the amount of fouls…

"They are a physical team. We try to be a physical team. That's the nature of the game. I thought we did a good job of not letting the physical nature of the game or foul trouble affect us."

On the first half defense…

"I thought we really came out guarding them. It was a major issue against Vanderbilt. We didn't guard. For the last couple of days all we talked about was defending and rebounding at a high level, regardless of how it is going for us offensively."

On guarding Michael Carrera…

"They are a tough team to rebound against because of how they play down near the basket. He is hard to handle down there in that way. But I thought we did a good job of handling everybody else. But he plays hard down there and you have got to give him credit for that."

On the second half…

"I thought we did a good job of maintaining our composure and bouncing back. I thought they did a good job of handling any adversity that came to them today."

On Malcolm Canada…

"Malcolm played well tonight. I thought he did a really good job of stepping up in Tahj Shamsid-Deen's absence and running the show. He did a great job of running the team and he did a great job defensively. I thought this was Malcolm's best game of the year."

Allen Payne

On the foul situation…

"That's adversity that is going to hit every game.  We were down 8-0 in fouls in the first 5 minutes. That was just adversity that we had to fight through. Me and Chris Denson led the charge in the huddle. We said we had to keep fighting through and keep battling because they weren't going to give us any calls."

On defending Carrera…

"He plays with a lot of energy. He plays controlled, but wild. He is very smart and he is able to get under some people's skin, and make you retaliate. He goes to the glass really hard with no regard for his body, and that makes it hard to box him out and keep him off the glass."

Chris Denson:

On defense…

"They weren't very good shooters, besides Williams, so we just stood back. We had a lot of slip ups by letting Williams get them up tonight. That is something about the Vanderbilt game, we watched the tape and the energy just wasn't there. We just brought it this game. We had more energy on the defensive end."

On mindset for upcoming games…

"Bring it every day. We need to bring the type of energy that can allow us to win and be successful. If we don't bring the energy we are going to lose. Bringing the energy is our main focus. Defense and rebounds are going to win games."

On the dunk…

"It felt good. I thought he was going to jump more, but I got the and one. It felt really good."

South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin

On tonight's loss…

"We aren't talented enough to outscore people. Ever since the Vanderbilt game, our on the ball defense has been bad. There is no other word you could use. We fought and scraped all year, but over the last three games our on the ball defense has been struggling, and it is across the board. There's not one guy that's been any good guarding the basketball. When you play teams like Auburn that have three guards that just attack you, you've got to be good on the ball. Whether we played triangle, zone or man, it doesn't matter. We don't guard the basketball. We aren't guarding the ball. In the game of basketball, if you don't put up a fight guarding the guy with the ball, you've got no chance. Unfortunately that's what is happening to us right now."

On Sindarius Thornwell…

"He's had to carry the load for our team this year, fair or unfair. It is what it is. You have to accept the responsibility, it's on his shoulders. He didn't play like he has played all year for us tonight. His approach was not good."

On missing shots effecting team's mentality…

"The other day against Georgia, I thought there was no doubt that our interest in competing was impacted by our missing shots. Today, defensively we never put up a fight. It's a plethora of guys. It isn't just one guy. Everyone but their starting center drove us off the dribble. That's not good."

On Duane Notice not starting…

"He hasn't practiced well. He hasn't played well. His focus hasn't been good. I never in my career had to change a lineup this deep into the season, but unfortunately because of our youth and inconsistencies, I had to do that. He's got to reconnect with what we are doing. He has been disconnected since the Vanderbilt game."  

On regrouping for the last few games…

"You have no choice. You've been doing this for five and half months now, every single day. There's three more games on the schedule. You have to make sure that you go into practice with the mindset is the right way. This will show the character we have in the young kids in how we respond to the last three games of the year."

On what the team is playing for the remainder of the season…

"We are playing for our program. We are trying to build a program. We are not in a place where we can compete for any type of championship right now. If you are going to put on that uniform, your approach has to be the right way. In your life, you get evaluated every single day. The days you choose not to do what you are supposed to could be the day decisions are made from an evaluation stand point. We've got three weeks of basketball left. We have to make sure that we continue to prepare well."

Senior Guard Brenton Williams

On tonight's game…

"I think from the very beginning the game started off rough. We started the game with about three or four turnovers in a row. They really started to pressure us. It seemed like ever since the beginning of the game we could not seem to get back in the groove. That is something we just have to prevent as the SEC Tournament comes up. We just need to start off the games a lot better than what we did today."

On ending college career…

"Yes I am trying to end my career on a good note. I do have a sense of urgency. Which is to be more aggressive with each game that comes up. Lately I have just been trying to be consistent."

On expectations from coach…

"Everyday coach emphasizes us to apply pressure aggressively. Not just to me, but to Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice as well. We play the most minutes on the team. That is our jobs as players to stand up and guard the ball."

On motivation for rest of season…

"It is definitely a pride thing. I think that's it more than anything. The SEC Tournament is coming up and that is what is most important to us right now."

On Sindarius Thornwell…

"I think that (on tiring out) could be a factor. The minutes he is playing are starting to catch up to him. But he will definitely get it together."

On leadership perspective...

"I am just trying to encourage the freshmen. They are probably feeling down at the moment because this is their first time in this situation. It is time to keep their heads and keep playing. They cannot just quit."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn Athletics Dept.

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