Florida lost in Oxford.
Alabama lost in Oxford.
The Pavilion’s been a tough place to play all season long.
That didn’t matter to Auburn tonight. The Tigers beat Ole Miss in a grind, 79-70 to improve to 8-1 in the SEC and 20-2 overall on the season.
In the first half, fouls were the flavor of the week, with seven Ole Miss players earning two fouls before halftime. Auburn was in the bonus less than midway through the period, and made their bones at the free throw line to hold a 38-36 edge at halftime. Deandre Burnett, who did not play against Auburn in the first meeting between these two teams, strung together a few baskets in a row near the end of the half to cut the lead to just two at the break.
After halftime, the officials let the two teams play a little bit more, and neither team was shooting free throws until much later in the half. The Tigers started to shoot a little better from the floor, and built a six point lead at 47-41 on a Bryce Brown jumper. Auburn was able to stretch the lead to eleven at 66-55, and then the Tigers began to lean on the Rebels.
With just a few minutes left, Desean Murray found himself under the basket for a dunk, which was immediately followed by another Brown layup, and Auburn led 72-57 at the final break of the game. After that, the Tigers salted the game away at the line and Ole Miss ran out of time to mount a comeback.
Bryce Brown led all scorers with 23 points, including 19 after halftime. Mustapha Heron added 16, and Jared Harper chipped in 10 points for the Tigers. Deandre Burnett led Ole Miss with 16 points in the loss.
Auburn now has a two-game lead on the rest of the conference with an 8-1 record, and a 20-2 record overall. It’s the first 20-win season for the Tigers since 2009. Up next, Auburn will play against Vanderbilt at home this Saturday, with tipoff time coming at 7:30 pm CST at Auburn Arena.