I don’t know if you stayed up late last night or what, but in case you missed it, Auburn overcame a 19-point second half deficit on the way to an 83-82 double overtime win against Ole Miss in Oxford.
What started out as the worst showing of the season, against the third-lowest ranked SEC team according to KenPom, turned into the rock-fightiest win of all the rock fights that the Tigers have been in this year. What’s even more impressive is that, by any measure, Auburn absolutely should not have won that game.
Here's the breakdown from last night's 2OT win. If I had a win expectancy machine like @ESPN_BillC has for football, I would expect Auburn to be somewhere in the 20% range based on the 4 Factors. pic.twitter.com/HPnZpXkQyZ— Ryan Sterritt (@RyanSSterritt) January 29, 2020
Wow. Look at the deficits that Auburn faced after halftime last night:
- With 19:16 left to play, Auburn trailed 39-20.
- After cutting the deficit to 39-30, and with 12:34 to play, Auburn trailed 48-31.
- After cutting the deficit to 48-43, and with 8:11 to go, Auburn again trailed by double digits, 54-44.
- They trailed 61-51 with 5:48 to go, when Samir Doughty made his biggest bucket of the night, a huge three that sparked the final rally.
- In double overtime, Auburn trailed 82-78 with 3:04 left, and without Anfernee McLemore, their leading scorer on the night.
Man. Auburn certainly didn’t do anything on schedule last night. If you think about trailing by 19 with 19 minutes left, the Tigers needed to shave a point per minute off of that margin, and they hadn’t even gotten halfway there at the 5:48 mark before Doughty’s three. Hey, we never accused Auburn athletics of being boring.
On Samir Doughty, he scored as many points as I did in the first half before turning it on for 17 in the second half and overtime. His three started the final comeback, wherein Auburn took the lead momentarily before Ole Miss tied it up late. With the game on the line and a final shot looming near the end of one of the periods, the Pavilion was blaring music. The camera cuts to Doughty on the bench, bobbing his head and smiling as the coaches drew up the final play. He had two bad games on the road against Alabama and Florida, and one bad half last night, but he made up for it and turned on the Philly attitude that we all know about.
What about Anfernee McLemore? 5-10 from three, his best output ever from distance, and a team-high 19 points? He hit the only three of the first half for the Tigers, and his threes late were huge momentum boosters as Auburn cut into the huge margin. He came off the bench for that kind of output. Wanna know how many total points the bench scored last night? 19.
And while J’Von McCormick had a rough night (and it was a rough night) at times — a 2:9 assist to turnover ratio qualifies that statement — he ended up with some huge buckets of his own in the comeback. It’s largely because of those turnovers that Auburn was down so large to begin with. McCormick’s jumper late in regulation knotted us up at 64, and then another jumper stopped a mini-Rebel run in the second overtime, pulling Auburn within one score at 82-80. He also didn’t cost Auburn at the foul line, going 4-6 in that regard.
Overall, this game was one that Auburn needed. Remember last year after seven SEC games? Auburn was 3-4, not 5-2. Auburn had gotten frustrated and bamboozled a couple times, including in Oxford. That was with Bryce Brown and Jared Harper on the team. We still don’t know what this team can be. Last year’s group didn’t even see the absolute barrage of three-pointers really start to hit until late in the regular season and postseason. The difference this year is that there’s a higher starting point. If we turn it on at the end of the season from this point, then we’re in play for a 1 or 2-seed, not a 4 or 5-seed.
Last night was just a microcosm of what will be in the end a wild and wonderful season. We’ve still got 11 regular season games and who knows how many postseason games left. Enjoy it. Don’t turn it off after a half, even if it’s late — but of course, we have no late tipoffs left this year until tournament time. War Eagle.