Before traveling to Oxford, Bruce Pearl said he expected this season’s Ole Miss to be reminiscent of last season’s Auburn and compete for a conference championship.
In a 67-82 win over No. 11 Auburn, Ole Miss earned its first top-25 in-conference win since 2015 in addition to its first ranked victory under first-year head coach Kermit Davis.
With Auburn pulling close and Ole Miss pulling away at each jab, Pearl watched as Davis’ squad matched its win total from a season ago.
“They were more aggressive,” Pearl said. “They were more physical, they were tougher. They definitely had the edge on us the whole night.”
Amid four double-digit scorers for the Rebels, Terence Davis led all scorers in his double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
Pearl added that Ole Miss successfully pushed Austin Wiley out of his comfort zone on the block while being pressured into consistent double teams.
The Rebels out-rebounded Auburn by eight on the night in addition to 30 points in the paint. Wiley, Chuma Okeke, Horace Spencer and Anfernee McLemore combined for 15 points on 4-for-18 shooting to complement Auburn’s 12 points in the paint.
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With an emphasis on more free-throw attempts going into conference play, Auburn would shoot 20 fewer attempts than Ole Miss in its 15-point loss.
Bryce Brown led Auburn in scoring with 23 points on 7-for-19 shooting from beyond the arc. His 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining brought Auburn to within three prior to the team’s drought in the final minutes.
Brown was Auburn’s lone double-digit scorer until Malik Dunbar hit a 3-pointer late in the second half.
In total, Auburn would finish with just eight baskets from inside the arc in comparison to its 14 makes beyond.
After falling in its conference opener, Pearl was quick to credit the Rebels’ dominance in advance of a return trip home to host Georgia on Saturday.
“Let’s give Ole Miss the credit, and we’ve got to get things fixed,” Pearl said.
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