College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, January 2, 2012
Auburn won its ninth straight home game, defeating Bethune-Cookman decisively, 67-41 as the 10-3 Tigers held the Wildcats to just 24% shooting from the field and won the battle of the boards, 41-28.
The main component of Auburn's defensive display was also their leading scorer. Kenny Gabriel scored a game high 24 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and added 10 blocked shots for the rare triple-double. The senior forward also contributed four steals and three assists, going 11-for-13 from the floor without ever stepping to the foul line. Gabriel hit two of his three 3-point shots.
Gabriel's double dozen points matched his career high. This was the third time he's scored 24 points, the most recent coming about a week ago when he put in 24 in an 83-76 loss to UTEP.
The Tigers face stiff competition in the SEC from a handful of teams, including Kentucky, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi State. The Tigers hit the road on Wednesday, January 4, when they conclude the non-conference part of their schedule with a visit to Florida State, then open SEC play at Vanderbilt on January 7 and host #2 Kentucky on January 11.