AUBURN, Ala. (WIAT) — In the first meeting between Auburn and Ole Miss, Auburn won in double overtime. In Tuesday’s rematch, there was no need for overtime. The Tigers started with a steal and a lay-up from Danjel Purifoy and never trailed after that.
Eight different players scored for Auburn, including three in double figures, as the Tigers stayed perfect inside Auburn Arena on the season with a 67-58 win over Ole Miss.
Senior Austin Wiley scored nine of his team-high 15 points in the final 8:25 to help Auburn fend off the Rebels down the stretch. His dunk with 1:55 left proved to be the exclamation point on the victory, putting the Tigers up seven at the time. Wiley also pulled down 11 rebounds to record his 12th double-double of the season and added two blocks.
“I was just trying to secure the win to be honest,” Wiley said. “I was trying to guard them and play my hardest. I knew Ole Miss was going to keep pushing and try to make a comeback and a late game push, so I tried to play my best out there.”
As a team, Auburn won the battle inside with a 38-18 advantage in points in the paint.
The Tigers also put the clamps on defensively, holding Ole Miss well below its average of 69.7 points per game. They locked down the SEC’s leading scorer, Breein Tyree, who finished with 16 points on 3 of 19 shooting from the field. Tyree came in averaging 20.6 points per game and 29.5 points per game over his last six games.
“I thought it was a terrific defensive effort tonight,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “Kermit [Davis] has got six or seven really good players, they just don’t have a lot of depth, but they’ve got two of the best guards in the league in [Devontae] Shuler and Tyree.
“Tyree shot 3 for 19 tonight. That’s a couple times we’ve done a pretty good job against him. Give Samir Doughty credit. He was excited about guarding him.”
One of the loudest ovations of the night came during team introductions when Isaac Okoro’s name was announced as part of Auburn’s starting lineup. It was the freshman’s first game back after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury, and he responded with 10 points.
Even with Okoro back, the Tigers still leaned on freshmen Jaylin Williams and Devan Cambridge, who both saw increased minutes in Okoro’s absence.
Williams picked up where he left off Saturday with a put-back dunk and then an alley-oop drunk from J’Von McCormick in a span of three minutes in the first half. Cambridge threw down his highlight-reel dunk in the second half and followed it up on the next possession with a corner 3 to cap off a 9-0 Auburn run. The two freshmen combined for 14 points.
Doughty made it 11 straight games in double figures with 14 points. The senior, who also had a team-high four assists against Ole Miss, is averaging 18.4 points over that stretch. He came in ranked eighth in the SEC with 16.2 points per game on the season.
For the Tigers, it was their 16th win inside Auburn Arena this season, which is the most in one season in the building’s 10-year history. They have now won 19 straight at home going back to last season.
With the win, Auburn (24-4, 11-4) kept pace in the SEC race and remains two games back of Kentucky with a vital game between the two sides in Lexington on Saturday.
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