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Originally published March 12, 2014 at 9:51 PM | Page modified March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

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Auburn fires men’s coach right after loss in tournament

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has fired men’s basketball coach Tony Barbee.


The Associated Press

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ATLANTA — Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has fired men’s basketball coach Tony Barbee.

Jacobs announced the decision Wednesday night, shortly after the team left the Georgia Dome following Auburn’s 74-56 loss to South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Barbee insisted after the game the Tigers improved by finishing 14-16 overall and 6-12 in the Southeastern Conference. He said he expected to meet with Jacobs when the team returned to Auburn.

Jacobs didn’t wait that long. He said in a statement a change “is best for the program.”

Jacobs said he believes Auburn should compete for basketball championships and “it’s time for somebody else to have a turn.”

Barbee posted losing records in each of his four seasons.

BOSTON — From 10-20 a year ago, American University’s turnaround will include a trip to the NCAA tournament.

The Eagles advanced to the NCAAs for the first time in five years, stymieing Boston with smothering defense and beating the top-seeded Terriers 55-36 in the Patriot League championship game.

Tony Wroblicky scored 15 points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked two shots and Darius Gardner had 18 points and four assists for American, which never trailed and held BU to less than half its scoring average.

“We just played really solid defense. We keep our pressure tight and we don’t really allow them to get easy shots,” Wroblicky said. “I think we did a good job of making them take tough shots.”

The Eagles (20-12) are headed for the NCAA tournament for the third time in school history and first since winning back-to-back Patriot League titles in 2008 and 2009.

The Terriers (24-10) were averaging 72.5 points per game and had scored 91 against both Lafayette and Army to advance to the conference tournament final.

“We were prepared for BU to make a run. They’re a great team,” Gardner said. “We just wanted to stick to what got us the lead and that’s play good defense and rebound. If we stick with those things we’ll be fine and that was our mindset toward the second half of the game.”

The Eagles closed the game on an 11-2 run, and then celebrated in a team huddle before being overcome by the American fans who swarmed the players.

They had reason to celebrate.

Coming off a 10-20 season, first-year coach Mike Brennan guided the Eagles to the second seed in the conference tournament and won it with strong shooting and defense.

“They were terrific all year. A first-year coach couldn’t ask for a better group,” Brennan said. “We want to enjoy this for what it is. It’s a great accomplishment by our group.”

Notes

Doug McDermott of Creighton, the nation’s leading scorer (26.5 ppg), was a unanimous choice as the Big East player of the year. Selected the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year the previous two seasons, McDermott is believed to be the first player to win that honor in two conferences.

• Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier was named the American Athletic Conference’s inaugural player of the year.

• Florida International’s Jerica Coley started the day at No. 9 on the NCAA’s career Division I women’s scoring list. She ended it at No. 5. Coley scored 42 points, increasing her career total to 3,054 and lifting the Panthers past East Carolina 87-75 in the second round of the Conference USA tournament in El Paso, Texas.



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