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NCAA Tournament Recap (Winthrop-Auburn)

Posted: Thur March 11, 1999 at 8:01 p.m. EST


(1) AUBURN 80, (16) WINTHROP 41

INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Scott Pohlman scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half as top-seeded Auburn suffocated 16th-seeded Winthrop, 80-41, in its first-round NCAA Tournament game in the South Region.

Doc Robinson also netted 14 points for the Tigers (28-3), who are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1985. Facing a school making its NCAA Tournament debut, Auburn allowed six points the final 13:17 of the first half en route to a 37-18 lead.

"You could tell this was a team that hadn't been in the tournament," said Tigers coach Cliff Ellis. "I thought our defense was keeping us in it. Our defense picked it up and I was very satisfied at about the 10-minute mark. I thought our team came up and got the job done."

The Tigers will play ninth-seeded Oklahoma State in the second round Saturday.

Robbie Waldrop, Jacques Vandescure and Tyson Waterman all scored six points for Winthrop (21-8), which represented the Big South Conference. The Eagles wilted under Auburn's full-court pressure, committing 25 turnovers.

"Unfortunately, we did not execute our game plan as well as Auburn did theirs," said Eagles coach Gregg Marshall. "I thought we would be able to knock down a few more shots. In order for our team to play with the caliber of Auburn, we have to make 3s, inside plays, drives. We just could not put the ball in the basket."

Auburn's Daymeon Fishback triggered a 10-0 tear with 3-pointer and Robinson followed with one of his own. Fishback and Mamadou N'diaye each sank two free throws as Auburn grabbed a 23-13 lead with 6:46 left. The Eagles closed to 27-18 on a lay-in by Juontonio Pinckney with 2:48 to go, but it would be their final points of the half as Pohlman hit a 3-pointer and Chris Porter had a three-point play in a 10-0 burst that closed the period.

"We wanted to come out and establish on the defensive end," said Tigers forward Bryant Smith. "We wanted to try and come out and play hard and be aggressive because we knew Winthrop was going to come out with a lot of emotion."

Winthrop shot 28 percent (7-of-25) in the first half and committed 15 turnovers that led to 10 points. The Tigers shot only 39 percent (13-of-33) but hit 5-of-11 from beyond the arc and held a 23-16 rebounding advantage.

The second half allowed Ellis to give his younger players a taste of NCAA Tournament action as 14 played and 12 scored. No starter logged more than 26 minutes as Auburn compiled a 55-41 rebounding advantage to overcome 38 percent (28-of-74) shooting.

"We got experience. That was the big thing," said Ellis. "They have not been in this situation before. There were 27,000 people, but it was quiet. You're just out there playing. I think our players will pick up a lot from that."

The Tigers were 10-of-23 from beyond the arc and N'diaye pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. Auburn scored 30 points in the paint, netted 24 off 25 Winthrop turnovers and totaled 17 second-chance points off 20 offensive rebounds.

Winthrop shot only 25.5 percent (14-of-55), the worst in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament since Prairie View hit only 23.3 percent last year against Kansas in the first round.

"Nothing can diminish what our team accomplished this year," said Waterman. "We were picked last in all of the preseason publications. We felt like we really had a great time here. We did something that the University had never done before by coming here."

© 2000 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP

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