Tag Archives: Jeff Lebo

Hot Thoughts from The Hardwood

By J. Henderson

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The Auburn Tigers played and beat the Presbyterian Blue Hose last night. For a while it looked like a Harlem Globetrotters game. It was basically a team of Spudd Webbs out there. I was taller than half the team and probably weigh as much as three of them combined… and I’m not tall. But they were scrappy and I’m told their size changes the style of the game — they only got one offensive rebound, and I think it may have been a fluke. I’m sure they’re good people.

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This is all to say that it was a fun game — a game to kick back and eat pop-corn and talk about things with a friend, catch some t-shirts. Matt Heramb had a good game and Russell and I got started on something, an idea that would really jazz things up in Beard-Eaves, and it’s this:

Alliteration will only get you so far and “Lebo’s Lunatics” is just an air-ball… just doesn’t have the PUNch of the “Cliff Dwellers.” If we have to stick with a coach-specific derivation (not that I mind), our idea — and I think it’d really generate some interest — is for the serious core of supporters to express themselves as three separate entities: Le’Bo Jacksons, Le’Bo Diddleys and Le’Bo Dereks.

bo-breaking-bat.jpgLe’Bo Jacksons would obviously be the majority male contingent that you think of, the Locos “Make It Rain” shirt-wearin’, hardcore fans who know the players’ names and things about them other than their awesome physical mutations. Conceptually ecumenical, this would involve the wearing of #34 jerseys and berets, little French mustaches in football face grease and the breaking of loaves of bread over their knees when we miss a layup or something.

bodiddley.jpgLe’Bo Diddleys would be the name of the jammin’ drum-kit pep band. They could start gettin’ funky, do jive skits and trash talk the other team’s stars.

bo-derek.jpgLe’Bo Dereks would be the exclusively-basketball game designation for the Tiger Paws and girl cheerleaders, or even just any real coed fan in general. Cornrows would obviously be involved – a double shout-out to DeWayne Reed, and bathing suits (the Tiger Paws need change nothing) and when we sank a three or dunked it or did anything really good they could all hold up posters with “10” really big in marker.

This would not only put more bodies in the seats, it would be great publicity. We’d be on SI on Campus in probably less than two weeks. So consider this a challenge!

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Photo OF Todd Van Emst

Next up is Alabama, which appears to be in a full-court mess. I hope we make them question themselves and their place in the world. I’m sure we will. Does Nick make it out to games anymore?

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Enemy Deserve Snow Mercy

By J. Henderson

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I took my daughter to the basketball game, so we won. I’ve taken her to seven Auburn sporting events. Football. Baseball. Soccer. Basketball. We’ve won every single one. Yesterday it was #15 Ole Miss at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Make that formerly #15 Ole Miss. We were bundled up. It had stopped snowing outside but inside it was snowing pain. We were taken it to’em and seriously, I thought our fans were going to leap from the bleachers and unload on the stripes because it was like those three guys had decided Frank Tolbert’s extra fingers were an unfair advantage and felt “ethically” obligated to keep the favored Rebels in the game.

Tolbert wasn’t going to let it get him down, he was all over the court, or at least so it seemed, tying a personal record with 29 points. Heard on the radio that the ‘DDitional Digit Dynamo actually sprained his ankle in Friday’s practice and was iffy for the sort of playing time he got yesterday. Coach Lebo told him it might actually be a blessing in disguise… you know, slow his game down, let him settle; if it did, Lordy, I don’t think my eyes could have focused on him if it hadn’t.

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One of Tolbert’s early 3-pointers…

“I was kind of more under control tonight, so I guess that would be true. I said after I got hurt I was still going to play. It wasn’t as bad as it seemed after I’d calmed down,” Tolbert said. “I got up early this morning and came over here for treatment and treated it until game time. I just had confidence today. It was a big game, and I stayed relaxed and let the game come to me.”

And when it did, he waxed on, waxed off and crane kicked it in the face, all while guarding 6’8, 240 lb Kenny Williams, aka Shaq with a beard.

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I took this with my telephoto…

All our guys were ninjas on the floor – swarming, blizzard defense and fearless shots. Early on, we couldn’t miss a three if we wanted, think we shot 53% for the whole game.

Dewayne Reed broke his career high of 20 scored in Baton Rouge on a few days prior with 21. Luke Hargrove was on fire early on. Quan Prowell only had two pts. but came up with 12 rebounds and Quantez Robertson bought the go-ahead three a drink with one minute left and got its number.

Matt Heramb was in for two minutes. Other than that, all it took was six Auburn Tigers to make us proud. Proud. Tingly. Snow not only did we escape Pearl’s Bottom-Dweller Sausage Cellar, suddenly we’re kinda sittin’ pretty in the S.E.C. West. At least sittin’ cute. War Eagle guys, seriously.

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I love this guy… see him walkin’ all the time, rarely is he without a shaker… here he is shooting granny free-throws for tuition or something…

I don’t know anything about basketball. I mean, I know enough. Be Like Mike, I guess… and at first I was just going to let J.M. be my Rick Bragg – I was just going to take some pictures with my new camera, feed him the uncredited vibe and let him write his quality stuff. But we talked, I’m going for it and I hereby tell you that yesterday, I became an Auburn basketball fan. Beyond generic Auburn support, beyond designating my gift just to the general building fund, beyond only paying attention when we play Bama — a straight up fan. Invested. Tingly.

I can’t get to football season fast enough, sure, but yesterday, I found a scenic short-cut.

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Escape…

By J.M. Comer

… from Pearl’s SEC Cellar of Dead Meat!

Auburn won at LSU last night! Four Tigers scored in double digits and nearly a fifth, spreading the love on the court. The 3-point shooting percentage was nearly 50 percent! And how about this for a change — four of the winning Tigers spent more than 30 minutes on the court while sixth man “Cool Hand Luke” Hargrove (or “Luke the Drifter” Hargrove, you decide Tiger fans) came off the bench for relief, while the starting five of the losing Tigers all spent 30+ minutes on the court. Surely it factored into the win for Auburn.

This is a big, huge road win for Coach Jeff Lebo’s team. Lebo has a two game streak against LSU going now and has brought his overall record as the Tiger coach to an even 53-53. Get him over the hump Tigers with a big win at home against Ole Miss this Saturday!

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Pearl works on the bengal, elephant sausage.

Pearl’s meat basement is now filled with Tiger meat of the Cajun variety. Also, she is perfecting a recipe for a spicy pachyderm sausage, as Alabama lost to Georgia last night.

For the love of God, Auburn, let’s not fall back into that place!

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Escape From the SEC West’s Cellar!

By J.M. Comer

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“Try the sausage hon!” This frightening photo of a basement is from a USDA site about the at-home pleasures of Appalachian hog butchering/sausage making. The Google image search did its job well (a little too well) with search terms “basement” and “stairs.” Yikes! Can Auburn escape the creepy SEC West basement tonight?

The Auburn Tigers take on the LSU Tigers tonight in Baton Rouge in an untelevised matchup of bottom dwellers. Both teams stand at 0-2 in SEC play tied with the University of Alabama (UAT plays against Georgia tonight). Auburn is riding a four-game losing streak, while LSU has a five-game losing streak going. LSU has lost 7 out of their last 10 games; let’s just say that LSU isn’t going to be pulling the same championship two-fer in basketball and football that the Florida Gators enjoyed last year.

What can the Auburn Tigers expect? Well, thanks to the handy-dandy media guides for both schools, we can glean that LSU is not so good battling for rebounds, losing that stat to the other team the last eight games. But those Tigers of LSU rank second in the SEC for 3-point defense and shot blocks.

Most disturbingly, LSU battled back from a 22-point deficit to close within 2 points before losing to a solid Ole Miss team, 74-71, in their last game. (Ole Miss is visiting Auburn this Saturday. It will be on TV.) Also, Coach Jeff Lebo is 1-6 against LSU. His Tigers got their first win against LSU last year in Auburn.

Auburn’s loss to Florida on Saturday was not as bad as the final score indicated. It kind of fell apart with 7 minutes remaining in the game. Once again, exhaustion and a thin bench were factors, I’m sure.

Maybe Auburn can pull this one off tonight followed with an at-home surprise this Saturday. It would give Coach Lebo a 54-53 record in his fourth year at Auburn.

Eye-popping stats due to injuries

Auburn’s Quantez Robertson (#23 or look for the guy on the court with the “S” on his chest) leads the SEC with 37.6 minutes played per game. He has played 37 minutes or more in 11 games this season and played the entire game four (count that … 1-2-3-4) times this year. He is not alone. DeWayne Reed (#12) also has played four entire games.

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Coach Lebo’s Weary Warriors

By J.M. Comer

The Auburn Tigers might have lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks, 76-70, last night, but I saw some promising things displayed on the court: Heart. Guts. (Isn’t “grit” part of the human body? I’m pretty sure the grit is near the gall bladder?) And a missed opportunity.

And horrible looking free white T-shirts in the stands for the “white out” (lame, lame, lame). Did they even say “Auburn” on them anywhere? I couldn’t tell. All I know is that “U.S. Army” was prominently displayed on the back of the shirts. It was hard to miss that.

Anyhooooo …

Wow. Hats off to our Auburn Tigers basketball team. (The women’s team … not so much. I was mistaken calling that one a “game.” Did I use the adjective “kung-pao”? TWER regrets the error.)

The men of Auburn won the rebound battle against a much taller, more rested hog opponent. The Tigers were busting hump all over the court last night. If they could have kept up the shooting streak they enjoyed the opening minutes, our Tigers might have won this game with a cushion.

But I drew a troubling conclusion at half-time: The smart coach on a team with the deeper bench will rotate players in and out of the game and wear the Tigers down every time. We’ll be seeing it a lot this year I’m sure.

That’s what happened last night. And Coach Jeff Lebo pegged it after the game. Those long, open baskets for the Tigers were not falling probably because of tired legs.

“Anyone who has played basketball before knows shooting begins below the waist,” Coach Lebo said. “Quan Prowell is one of our best shooters, but battling inside may be affecting his shooting. Arkansas shot the ball extremely well, finishing the game shooting 57 percent from the field. We were still able to stay in the game.”

While the Tigers’ shooting percentage dropped 10 percent in the second half, Arkansas’ jumped by almost 10 percent.

Arkansas had eight guys in the game with 10+ minutes of game time. Only two guys played more than 30 minutes total. Points from the bench: 20.

Auburn on the other hand, had seven guys in the game. Four Tigers were in for 30+ minutes (Quan Prowell, 31 minutes; DeWayne Reed, 40 minutes; Rasheem Barrett, 38 minutes; Quantez Robertson, 38 minutes). Points from the bench: 10.

But there was hustle. And I love watching hustle on the court. And by God, I’m rolling with Luke Hargrove. Dude came off the bench for 6 rebounds, a blocked shot and 10 points and was running up and down the court. He’s my guy.

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Luke Hargrove, elevated over Hogs and their muck.

Auburn’s next game is in Gainesville this Saturday. There will be televised Raycom Sports coverage at 11 a.m. CST for those in watching in Alabama.

Those outside of the South can watch it on ESPN360.com if Verizon is your Internet provider (that’s how I’m able to watch Auburn games in the mid-Atlantic).

War Eagle!

Recipe! (Look for LSU corndog recipe next week.)

Blackened Gator

Farm raised gator
Butter or Italian dressing
Blackened Seasoning mix

Cut gator crosswise in half.( You want a fillet about ½ inch thick). Dip fillet in butter or dressing to coat. Then sprinkle both sides evenly with mix. Cook on white hot skillet until done, approx. 2-3 mins each side until crispy. Serve with lemon or butter if desired.

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Colonial Colonoscopy!

By J.M. Comer

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Lucas Hargrove takes one of Auburn’s 180 missed 3-pointers. Photos by J.M. Comer.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the Auburn vs. George Washington men’s basketball game two days old, almost three, The War Eagle Reader gives you something that you can’t get in that Associated Press story you read 48 hours ago.

Simply said: soul. Or procrastination. This story is filled, brimming with both.

I can tell you that Coach Lebo’s Tigers have hustle and fight. They came to the Verizon Center to win. I left the game impressed.

They were outsized by the George Washington Colonials but still fought hard for rebounds, coming up with 26 compared to GW’s 31.

And turnovers? The Tigers were playing like their arms were 7 feet long, sticking their paws in and disrupting passes. They came up with 21 turnovers and gave up 15. They got 21 points from those turnovers and 12 points from fast breaks. Hooray for hustle! Huzzah for hands!

The play was a little sloppy at times for both teams, but it is early in the season.

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A small group of Auburn fans behind the bench looks on as the Tigers get ready to take the court. The Tigers played the Colonials in the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C. this past Sunday.

They need to work on their free throws, that’s for certain. I’m pointing my finger bone at Korvotney Barber and Frank Tolbert. The final score was 74-70, but it should have been 81-70. The game was closer than it should have been thanks to some missed free throws in the final few minutes.

Also something to worry about: ZERO points from the bench.

The Tigers were 3 for 18 behind the 3-point line for 16.7 percent. It felt like 3 for 180. They drained two 3-pointers in a row to start the game, but after that it was Brick City, U.S.A. The other 3-point basket came in the first five minutes of the second half. Then the 3-Point Fairy went West following the setting sun.

Hopefully, George Washington University can get its act together and win the Atlantic 10, helping an Auburn Tiger team that might be on the bubble gain some “quality win” points if it’s mulled during the Big Dance selection process.

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Auburn fans populate an eagle’s perch. This small, vocal (and blurred) crowd in a mid-court section of nosebleed seats let D.C. know the pleasures of the “War Eagle” cry.

I still think it was a quality road win. A better measuring stick for the Tigers will come against West Virginia tomorrow night in Birmingham. The Mountaineers are 5-1, with their only loss by 2 points to Bruce Pearl’s Tennessee Volunteers. (Once again, I love that coach. He had me at “I am your basketball coach … and we are going to kick Florida’s ass!” There, I said it.)

If anyone goes to the game please let The War Eagle Reader in on your post-game thoughts. We’ll be watching it via ESPN360.com or ESPN2.

War Eagle!

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