AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo kept telling Rasheem Barrett not to be discouraged about his struggles to land 3-pointers this season, reassuring the sophomore that it would eventually come together.
On Saturday, it did.Barrett scored a game-high 22 points and was 6-of-9 from 3-point range as Auburn held off Vanderbilt for a 68-65 victory in both teams' Southeastern Conference opener."I hadn't seen that in practice. I told him that you have to have confidence," Lebo said. "You can't just worry about your misses. You have to think that the next open look that you get is going in."If you miss it, you have to put that behind you and think that the next one is going in because we need him out there."Josh Dollard, who was 3-of-19 in 3-point shooting entering the game, joined Barrett in the comeback category by going 4-of-5 Saturday night. The sophomore said he'd gotten some advice from Lebo, too."Coach said I needed to shoot better, because I am a forward," Dollard said after the game. "One of our managers has been in the gym with me day in and day out helping me get my jump (shot) straight. It paid off. All hard work pays off."Dollard finished with 12 points, which was matched by Korvotney Barber.Vanderbilt (10-5, 0-1) was led by Dan Cage's career-high 19 points and Shan Foster added 14 for the Commodores.Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said it was Auburn's shooting that made the difference in the close game, which had eight lead changes and eight tied scores. Dollard's performance didn't hurt, either, he said."They were shooting 31 percent as a team, and one guy went 4-for-5 that was 3-for-19 (all season). So he made more shots in one game than he's made the entire season," Stallings said. "I'm not very smart, but I didn't expect that."The Commodores were down 47-35 at the 16:20 mark in the second half, but steadily chipped away at the Tigers' 12-point lead.Barber broke a 61-61 tie on a layup with 3:05 left to play and the Tigers never trailed again.Vanderbilt pulled within one, 66-65, when Jermaine Beal made both free throws after being fouled by Barber. Beal's 3-point attempt to tie the score with four seconds left fell short.Foster said it was too bad for his team that Auburn picked Saturday to improve its shooting."Unfortunately, tonight was their night to get things back going," he said. "They have a lot of good shooters on their team, and they knocked down shots tonight."