FINAL: Ole Miss 68, Auburn 54
Murphy Holloway helped the Rebels stay in front in the first half, using his quickness to get free in the zone, but the Rebels really didn't do a good job of finishing inside.
Holloway missed his last four shots, but did hit some big free throws down the stretch. He finished 5-for-9 from the line, which is pretty good for Holloway.
Holloway had a double-double in the first half and finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds.
While Holloway gave the Rebels a boost in the first half, Nick Williams carried them in the second.
Williams finished with a career-high 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting. He was 4-for-8 from 3, and his points really came from the outside, not the floaters, not the short jumpers he's been so effective with most of the year.
Williams hit some shots when he was closely guarded, and Auburn was giving chase.
Auburn coach Tony Barbee: “He came on late. He's made some big shots for them all year long. Going back to our game in Oxford, and how they finished, he really came on with making shots and making plays. It wasn't a surprise. With the foul trouble we had, we had some smaller guards on him. He's a big, physical guard, and he took advantage, got up over the top and hit some shots.”
The game turned on a big six-point swing for Ole Miss. Auburn hit a free throw, then rebounded the miss off the second. The Tigers then had a basket waved off for offensive goaltending.
On the other end, the Rebels got a free throw from LaDarius White, rebounded his miss on the second attempt, then got a 3-pointer from Nick Williams.
Auburn had cut into the lead, but that swing made it 49-42 with 8:33 left.
Williams was the big key for the Rebels. Terrance Henry was held pretty much in check with six points on 1-for-5 shooting. He could never get going and at times was pressing.
He finished with four turnovers.
HALFTIME: Ole Miss 28, Auburn 23
In a typically ugly Ole Miss-Auburn game, both teams are shooting 36 percent. The Rebels have led most of the half, their largest lead seven points.
Auburn will get a bonus with Kenny Garbriel gets back in the game in the second half. Auburn's best player sat out much of the first half with foul trouble. He has three fouls and has attempted just one field goal, a miss.
Auburn coach Tony Barbee said he felt like changing defenses gave the Rebels problems in the first two meetings, and the Ole Miss offensive hasn't been in sync for long periods of time tonight. Auburn has played mostly zone but has mixed in some man and has done good things with its press.
The Rebels have gotten to the rim a few times but have not finished as well as they would like. Predictably, they've left points at the free throw line, hitting 8-for-15 in the first 20 minutes.
In the absence of Jelan Kendrick there have been early minutes for LaDarius White and Maurice Aniefiok, neither with great success. White picked up three fouls and was 0-for-2 from the floor in 11 minutes.
Auburn has been able to score with Rob Chubb inside when he catches the ball with good position. He's 4-for-6 shooting with eight points.
For Ole Miss, Murphy Holloway has been able to penetrate the zone at times. He's 4-for-8 from the field, 2-for-5 from the free throw line. With 10 points and 10 rebounds he's already posted a double-double.
Update 5:48 p.m.
About 42 minutes to tip, and here's a little video from the Ole Miss shootaround with LaDarius White, Nick Williams and others.
A little more than an hour and a half from tip for Ole Miss and Auburn, third game. LSU and Alabama are the first-session winners, Arkansas and South Carolina the eliminated teams.
I'll have live updates on Twitter, and I'll update here at halftime and after the game.
Off-court news broke for Auburn today in the form of an alleged point-shaving scheme involving suspended guard Varez Ward. Here's a link looking at two Auburn games, neither being against Ole Miss.
Ole Miss vs. Auburn
Tip: 6:30 p.m., New Orleans Areans (18,000)
TV: MyMS (WCBI-owned, Comcast channel 3)
Radio: Ole Miss network. Satellite: Sirius 220, XM 199
Series: Auburn leads 73-51
This season: Auburn won 69-68 in 2-OT at Auburn on Jan. 14; Ole Miss won 61-54 at Ole Miss on Feb. 11.
Coaches: Auburn, Tony Barbee, 108-87, sixth season, 26-35 second season at Auburn. Ole Miss, Andy Kennedy, 144-89, seven season, 123-76, sixth season at Ole Miss.
Notes: The Rebels rank second in the SEC in blocked shots with 5.3 per game, third in field goal defense at 40.5 percent. ...The Ole Miss RPI of 58 is fifth-best among SEC schools. … Freshman LaDarius White will get most of the minutes that otherwise would have gone to Jelan Kendrick. White had 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting with a rebound, an assist and a steal in 17 minutes against Alabama. … In limited minutes, freshman Aaron Jones has recorded 16 blocked shots, third on the team. … Ole Miss is 24-48 with one tournament title in 49 SEC tournament appearances. … The Rebels are 2-5 in SEC tournament play under Andy Kennedy.
Auburn 15-15, 5-11
Probable starters Pts. Reb.
F Kenny Gabriel 6-8 Sr. 12.2 7.6
F Noel Johnson 6-6 Jr. 2.0 1.6
C Rob Chubb 6-10 Jr. 8.1 5.1
G Josh Wallace 5-10 Jr. 3.4 1.2
G Frankie Sullivan 6-1 Jr. 12.9 2.3*
G Chris Denson 6-2 So. 8.7 1.1
C Willy Kouassi 6-10 Fr. 1.2 2.5
* - assists per game
Ole Miss 18-12, 8-8
F Terrance Henry 6-9 Sr. 12.3, 4.4
F Murphy Holloway 6-7 Jr. 11.1 8.9
F Reggie Buckner 6-9 Jr. 6.9 8.4
G Nick Williams 6-4 Jr. 10.2 3.4
G Jarvis Summers 6-4 Fr. 9.8 3.2*
G LaDarius White 6-6 Fr. 3.9. 1.5
C Demarco Cox 6-8 So. 3.3 3.0
- assists per game