Tigers set for final tuneup

Now that Tony Barbee’s seen his team in game action for the first time, he’s got a bit of an idea how to proceed with his young group.

He saw flashes of good post play from 6-foot-8 Kenny Gabriel, with his 16 rebounds and four blocks against West Alabama, but he wants more of his teammates joining in.

He liked what he saw out of walk-on point guard Josh Wallace — who played, in his estimation, about a foot taller than he is — but wants to see more guys stretching their skill sets.

Barbee’s team gets another audition tonight against Columbus State at 7 p.m., its final one before the season opener against UNC-Asheville on Friday.

“We have a long way to go,” Barbee said of the West Alabama game. “I thought we played hard in spots when we were fresh when we just got into the game, but typically when you get tired is when you lose concentration. You lose your defensive positioning. You lose your awareness. You lose your anticipation about what is happening around you, and then you make mistakes, and that is what we did.”

That comes with the territory when you have three players — Wallace, Gabriel and Andre Malone — log 25 or more minutes now, when thye played just a combined 26 minutes per game last year.

The Division II Cougars are picked to finish second-to-last in the Peach Belt Conference this year.

They return two scorers that topped 10 points per game last year in 6-foot-2 guard Lamar Williams (12.7) and 6-foot-3 guard Donta Ridley (6-3), and they also feature a 7-footer in center Jeremy Grimball.

“We have to work on a lot of different things,” Barbee said. “For the first go-around, it was OK. We just have to see improvement in all those areas come Monday night.”

dmorrison@oanow.com | 737-2568

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