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Auburn falls to Ole Miss 80-63

Tigers road woes continue as Ole Miss takes over in the second half.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

A sparse crowd at the The Pavilion saw Ole Miss catch fire in the second half to take down Auburn 80-63. The Tigers are now just 2-8 away from Auburn Arena this season. TJ Lang had a career night and led Auburn with 19 points (6 of 9 from the field), but he didn't get much help from his teammates outside of Tyler Harris's 16 (and even that comes with the asterisk of 7 missed free throws).

The first half was marked by poor shooting from both teams. Auburn shot 38% from the field, 31% from 3, and just 43% from the line. Ole Miss managed a 32/19/80 slash line. The referees let the teams play early, with the first shooting foul coming after the 10 minute mark of the first half.

Meanwhile, the match-up of two of the best scoring guards in the conference didn't materialize in the first half, as Stefan Moody had just 5 points on 1 of 6 shooting from the field, while Kareem Canty failed to score at all. After Bryce Brown hit a 3 pointer with 3 seconds left in the first half to give Auburn a 30-29 lead, it seemed like Auburn might need to just get Canty going to pull out a big road win.

Unfortunately, the second half went about as bad as the first half against Florida on Saturday. Stefan Moody heated up and began pouring in threes to build an Ole Miss lead up to double digits. Moody's play seemed to be a bit of a catalyst for the rest of the Rebels, as it seemed the entire team was unable to miss for about a ten minute stretch in the second half.

Auburn finished with a poor 37 / 38.5 / 59 shooting line. Yes, you read that right. Auburn shot better from behind the arc, 10 of 26, than they did from inside it, 10 of 28. Ole Miss managed a 45 / 31 / 70 line; a huge jump from where they were in the first half. Moody's hot shooting from outside seemed to open up everything inside for the Rebels.

Cinmeon Bowers played only 3 minutes in the second half. He didn't have the best first half, but there didn't seem to be anything physically wrong with him. It will be interesting to see if Bruce Pearl comments on what might be wrong there. When Bowers plays well, Auburn can challenge anyone in the SEC. When Bowers can't get going, it seems to lead to games like tonight.

Things we learned

  1. What it's like when you're on the wrong side of a Kareem Canty-esque shooting run. Moody got white-hot in the second half, scoring 19 points and hitting 5 threes. Most of those points came on the run that put Ole Miss ahead for good early in the second half.
  2. Bruce Pearl may be tiring of Cinmeon Bowers. I'm not sure there's another explanation as to why Bowers managed only 3 minutes in the second half. It could have gone back to a moment at the end of the first half. Pearl was shouting for Bowers to set a high screen for Canty, but Bowers never did it. I'm not sure what happened in the second half, but it must have been the last straw, at least for tonight.
  3. Auburn needs more than just one hot shooter to win. TJ Lang had his best offensive game tonight. He hit 5 threes, and the two he hit came with his foot on the 3-point-line. Sadly, it wasn't enough to keep Auburn in the ballgame in the second half.
To be honest, this game was marked more by what we didn't learn. Auburn struggled on the road. Auburn struggled to guard a hot shooter. Auburn struggled when Kareem Canty wasn't pouring in 27 footers and Bowers wasn't bouncing off of defenders like Jonathan Stewart.

Auburn comes back home on Saturday for the SEC/Big 12 challenge match-up with Oklahoma State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM Central time with TV coverage from ESPN2.