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#15 Auburn vs Ole Miss Game Preview and Open Thread

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Auburn plays their next to last home game tonight!

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Tuesday February 25th

Opponent: Ole Miss Rebels

Location: Auburn Arena

Time: 6PM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

After another double-digit comeback win on Saturday against Tennessee, one of the 17 point variety, Auburn remains home tonight to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss is the last visiting team to win in Auburn Arena, a 60-55 final on February 13, 2019.

Ole Miss is 3-4 in their 7 games since, beating South Carolina, Mississippi State, and Florida consecutively. They gave Kentucky all they wanted and more in Rupp Arena but come into tonight’s game after giving up 103 at home to Alabama.

The last time these 2 teams played, back on January 28th, it took 50 minutes but Auburn was able to escape Oxford with an 83-82 Double Overtime victory. Auburn was down as much as 19 early in the 2nd half and the first 20 minutes of this game was one of the worst halves Auburn played all year. But as we’ve seen time and time again this year, double-digit leads in the 2nd half of SEC games are dangerous as we’ve seen comeback after comeback, including multiple instances from Auburn.

Looking back at the Box Score from that game:

AUBURN

Anfernee McLemore tied his career high with 19 points, and hit 5 3-pointers. McLemore’s long range ability allowed Auburn to get back into the game and made a huge 3 in the first Overtime before fouling out.

Samir Doughty was just 4-15 from the field but finished with 17 points, thanks to going 8-13 from the free throw line.

Isaac Okoro had the winning basket and subsequent 3-point play and finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Coach Bruce Pearl said on Monday there was a “chance” Okoro would return tonight. With Kentucky looming on Saturday, it would be nice to see Okoro get a few minutes of game action but ultimately, Okoro needs to be 100% when the calendar turns to March here in a few days.

Danjel Purifoy had 13 points, J’Von McCormick had 12 points, but 9 turnovers.

Austin Wiley had 8 points and 9 rebounds.

3 of Auburn’s 5 starters played at least 44 minutes in the contest but Auburn was +12 on the boards, led by 9 each from Okoro and Wiley.

Jaylin Williams didn’t play in the first matchup but was a huge spark off the bench against Tennessee and seemingly has earned a spot in the rotation late in the season. Williams had 8 points including 2 highlight-reel dunks that energized the Tigers and Auburn Arena.

OLE MISS

Devontae Shuler had a then career-high 26 points against Auburn before eclipsing that a game later at LSU where he scored 28 points.

Blake Hinson had 16 points while Khadim Sy had 13 points and 7 rebounds.

KJ Buffen had 10 points but the big story from this game was Auburn holding the Rebels leading scorer Breein Tyree to 8 points. Tyree fouled out with a little more than 5 minutes left in regulation and Auburn took full advantage of Tyree’s absence on the court. At the time, Ole Miss led 63-54. Auburn would finish regulation on a 12-3 run to force Overtime.

Breein Tyree leads the SEC at 20.6 PPG. He had a tough week scoring just 8 and 9 points respectively against Auburn and LSU but he’s been on a tear the last 3 weeks. He has scored 38, 23, 40, 19, 29 and 28 points over his last 6 games, an average of 29.5 PPG.

Prediction

A win tonight would put Auburn in a great position to earn a double bye in the SEC Tournament in 2 weeks. Auburn is 2 games ahead of South Carolina, Mississippi State and Texas A&M with the Tigers owning head-to-head wins over the first 2 squads and faces A&M in the Auburn Arena finale next Wednesday. Auburn would be the #2 seed in the SEC Tournament if the season ended today with Kentucky, LSU and Florida also earning double byes.

Ole Miss has won 5 of their last 6 trips to Auburn and it’s no secret that Kermit Davis has fared well against Bruce. Tyree will be much more of an offensive weapon for Ole Miss than he was in the first game. I feel like it will be really difficult for Auburn to hold Tyree to 8 points tonight but if they can keep him in check, I feel really good about Auburn’s chances. Like the first game, the Tigers will face Kentucky in the following game so hopefully Auburn doesn’t get caught looking ahead. But I think after the first matchup, Auburn will be focused and ready to take care of business tonight.

Auburn 77 Ole Miss 67