No. 11 Auburn overcame a spotty shooting performance with a dominant effort on the offensive boards to beat Ole Miss 79-70 in Oxford Tuesday night to strengthen its grip on the Southeastern Conference lead.
Coupled with Florida’s loss at Georgia, the win gave the Tigers (20-2, 8-1) a two-game lead over the Gators while ending 10 years of frustration against the Rebels in Oxford. The Rebels (11-11, 4-5) had won the last eight meetings against Auburn in Oxford, with Auburn’s last win coming in February 2008.
Guard Bryce Brown led all scorers with 23 points for Auburn, which reached the 20-win level for the first time since the 2008-09 team went 28-9. Jared Harper scored 13 for the Tigers with 10 in the first half.
Guard DeAndre Burnett led Ole Miss with 16 points. He did not play in the first meeting, which Auburn won 85-70.
The Tigers led the entire second half after going to the locker room up only four points at the intermission. But it was a one- or two-possession game until Auburn jumped from a 59-55 lead with just under eight minutes left to a 72-57 cushion at the 4:13 mark.
The Tigers shot only 38.8 percent from the field but had 16 offensive rebounds. Ole Miss shot 41 percent.
The Rebels pulled out to a 19-13 lead in the first half but the Tigers then went on a 13-2 run that put them up 26-21 with 8:30 left in the period. They eventually went out to a seven-point cushion, 38-31, just over a minute before halftime before the Rebels recovered.
Burnett’s first 3-pointer of the game with 30 seconds left in the half after four misses from behind the arc got Ole Miss to within 38-36 at the break.
--Field Level Media