No. 11 Auburn entered Tuesday’s matchup with Ole Miss having lost eight straight games in Oxford dating back to 2008, but this is far from the same old Auburn team.
This Auburn team now sits at 20-2 and 8-1 in conference play after their fourth consecutive win, a 79-70 triumph over Ole Miss. The win, coupled with Georgia’s upset of No. 23 Florida, gives Auburn a two-game lead in the SEC standings.
Auburn continued their recent run of strong second half play by outscoring Ole Miss 41-34 after halftime. Bryce Brown scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half as he continues to show why he is one of the SEC’s best.
Mustapha Heron followed up a career game against LSU with a 16 point, six rebound performance.
“Our second-half defense was really good,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “We turned them over and disrupted them. We thought we needed to turn them over some to win.”
The Tigers led by two at the break despite being out-rebounded 23-15 and shooting just 37 percent from the field.
Auburn flipped the script in the second half, out-rebounding the Rebels 27-18. The Tigers finished with 19 offensive rebounds and 17 second chance points.
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“We just don’t get tired in the second half,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said on SEC Network after the game. “It’s the time of year in late January, early February, where I think fatigue is a factor. People can play with us for the first half, but can they play two halves at that kind of intensity?”
Desean Murray had another strong game on the glass, nearly posting a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
DeAndre Burnett, who missed the Rebels’ loss at Auburn Arena earlier this season, led Ole Miss with 16 points. Tuesday’s loss is Ole Miss’ first home loss since December 2 and is just their second regulation home loss this season.
The opening half was sloppy on both sides as the Tigers and Rebels combined to commit 26 fouls and 16 turnovers.
Auburn started the game cold as they made just two of their first seven three point shots, but a 13-2 run midway through the first half punctuated by a Jared Harper 3-pointer gave Auburn their first lead of the night.
"They don't have watchers. They do not watch," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "They spread you, they cut you, when the ball goes on the glass ... 19 offensive rebounds? They're playing at a different speed than most everybody else at this point. They just look faster to me."
The Tigers will look to remain undefeated at home when they return to Auburn Arena to face Vanderbilt on Saturday.
“Road wins are opportunities,” Pearl said. “We just got to keep on getting (better). We have a lot to work on, and we’ve got Vanderbilt on Saturday, but that’s a happy locker room right now.”
Tip-off between the Tigers and Commodores is set for 7:30 p.m. CST inside Auburn Arena. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.
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