8:00 PM ET, December 10, 2003
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Montana's plan was to shut down Auburn's post players, but the Grizzlies didn't count on Ronny LeMelle's outside shot.LeMelle scored a season-high 18 points and made 4-of-6 3-pointers to lead Auburn to a 73-51 victory Wednesday night."We really thought we needed to take the middle away from them," Grizzlies coach Pat Kennedy said. "Then their outside shooting really started hurting us."The Tigers (7-0) made 10 3-pointers and started controlling the boards in the second half after a sluggish start, turning a three-point lead into their sixth consecutive blowout over the final 16 minutes.Ian Young had 15 points, including 4-of-9 3-pointers, and Brandon Robinson added eight points and nine rebounds for Auburn. LeMelle also had four assists and three steals, surpassing his previous season-high of 13 points against Grambling State.Kevin Criswell had 13 points and Steve Horne added 12 for Montana, which committed 22 turnovers. Leading scorer Kamarr Davis was held to six points, eight below his season average.Montana did hold Auburn's top scorer, forward Marco Killingsworth, in check. He had eight points and five turnovers, the first time he's failed to score in double figures this season.The Grizzlies kept it close for 24 minutes, cutting it to 38-35 on two free throws by Criswell with 15:52 left. LeMelle's 3-pointer started a 10-0 Auburn run and Montana faded from there, drawing two technical fouls in a three-minute span."You take what they give you, and because they closed off the inside, Ronny was able to really step up tonight," Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said. "He made some big buckets which kept us in it early."The Tigers dominated the boards 22-10 in the second half and finished with 18 offensive rebounds."I told our kids the only way we were going to have a chance was if we played like crazed dogs," Kennedy said. "I was so pleased with the effort our kids gave."LeMelle, making his second start, made all three of his first-half 3-point attempts to help stake Auburn to a 31-26 halftime lead."It felt like I was in junior college again," said LeMelle, who is 10 of 17 from 3-point range. "I just knew what I wanted to do and I went out there and did it."The Tigers led by eight points with just over three minutes left but didn't hit another field goal.John Seyfert cut it to five points on two free throws with two seconds to play. Auburn had assists on nine of its 10 first-half baskets and 20 of 26 overall."Coach Ellis told us they would be packing it down low," Young said. "He told us on the outside we have to step up. I didn't mind shooting 3s all night."
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