Warren, White lead No. 18 Ole Miss past Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. (AP)—Mississippi showed that shots around the basket are much more reliable than ones launched from beyond the arc.
Chris Warren scored 20 points, Terrico White had 19 and the 18th-ranked Rebels weathered Auburn’s 3-point shooting before pulling out an 84-74 victory Thursday night.
The Rebels (16-4, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) shot 57 percent and scored 46 points in the paint. They got 53 points from their three starting guards, including 14 from Eniel Polynice.
Ole Miss has already matched last season’s win total and won back-to-back league road games for the first time since 2001. The Rebels are 4-2 in conference play for the first time in eight years.
The Tigers (10-11, 1-5) stayed in it with 3-pointers but cooled off in the second half, launching 36 and making 11 in the game.
Ole Miss was much more efficient, going 4 for 5 in the second half from long range while getting the ball inside with passes and drives against the undersized Tigers. The result was a 65 percent half from the field.
“Once we fed the post we got a good look,” Warren said. “We kept going down there and they couldn’t stop it so we kept feeding them.”
Ole Miss was leading by one when Murphy Holloway scored on back-to-back layups to start a 16-4 run that put the Rebels up 78-65 with 4:26 left. It took a little more than three minutes to turn a close game into a comfortable win.
White and Terrance Henry hit consecutive 3s during that stretch. Before the surge, the Rebels’ biggest lead was six points.
Warren shot 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. He and Polynice each dished out five assists, while Henry had nine points and 10 rebounds.
White took over in the second half, scoring 16 points after Auburn led by five in the opening minutes.
“Last game I only had one point because I was in foul trouble,” he said, referring to a 10-point win over LSU. “Tonight I wanted to come out and play well, and I did that in the second half.”
Tay Waller led Auburn with 21 points, making five 3-pointers but managing just five points in the second half. DeWayne Reed had 15 points and seven assists despite shooting just 4 of 15. Lucas Hargrove added 11 points and eight rebounds, and Brendon Knox scored 10.
The Tigers have lost five of their last six games.
“Pretty standard for us: Get to the 8-minute mark and we can’t finish it out,” Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. “It’s frustrating. We couldn’t finish. We missed some key shots coming down the stretch. Offensively, their size and their points in the paint just killed us.
“It’s hard to beat somebody that shoots 56 percent.”
Ole Miss outscored Auburn 46-24 in the paint, with many of the points coming on drives to the basket. The Rebels attempted 19 fewer 3s.
“I thought all of our guards were really good offensively,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said.
The Tigers, who shot 37 percent, missed 12 straight shots at one point in the first half but still took a 41-38 lead into halftime. Knox scored his only points of the half on a basket and free throw with 3.4 seconds left after he was fouled by Warren.
Mostly, though, the Tigers relied on eight 3-pointers to keep pace. Those mostly stopped falling in the second half.
Auburn blew a 16-point lead in its last game before losing to Vanderbilt and led by six a couple of minutes after halftime in this one.
“We always play with a lot more energy in the first half than we do the second half,” Waller said. “For some reason we just can’t keep it up. It’d be the same thing every game. It’s very frustrating. The first half we play good basketball and then we can’t get it going.”
Rebels forward Reginald Buckner was helped off the court with an injury to his right ankle in the final minutes. Kennedy wasn’t sure how severe the injury was.