OXFORD, Miss. (AP)Wendell Green Jr. scored 23 points, including 18 in the second half, and No. 21 Auburn dominated after halftime to beat Mississippi 82-73 on Tuesday night.
Auburn (13-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) trailed 35-34 at the break but put together runs of 6-0, 10-2 and 9-4 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Ole Miss got no closer than seven points in the final 12 minutes.
Johni Broome had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Allen Flanigan added 15 points and Jaylin Williams scored 11 for the Tigers, who shot 17 of 28 (60.7%) in the second half and finished 30 of 61 (49.2%) for the game.
”Wendell Green. Wendell Green. Wendell Green and Broome, Flanigan and Williams,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said when asked how the game turned in the second half. ”Those guys make plays. They converted shots and we only had four turnovers against a team that makes it tough with changing defenses.”
Matthew Murrell led Ole Miss (8-8, 0-4) with 24 points, adding six rebounds and four assists. Tye Fagan scored 13 points and Jaemyn Brakefield added 12 for the Rebels, who lost their fifth straight.
”We played well early and we are showing positives,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. ”We just couldn’t convert early in the second half and you can’t count on holding Auburn down. There’s nothing like winning and there’s a lot of basketball to go and good things can still happen for us.”
Auburn: Road wins are crucial if the Tigers hope to compete for a regular-season SEC championship and improve their seeding prospects for the NCAA Tournament. Auburn split two road games while also beating then-No. 13 Arkansas during a six-day stretch.
”It’s been a tough stretch, a tough turnaround,” Pearl said. ”We will get home sometime early in the morning, go to class and have a light practice. We can use the extra day. The good news is we will be back in our place on Saturday.”
Ole Miss: The Rebels played solid defensively and brought plenty of energy in the first half, but Auburn’s 38-28 rebounding advantage and Ole Miss’ limited offensive options proved decisive. Murrell was solid, but got little help in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as Auburn rallied to build a 51-41 lead.
Auburn is one of five ranked SEC teams and should extend a 29-week stretch in the AP Top 25.
Auburn: Hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.
Ole Miss: Hosts Georgia on Saturday.
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