No. 4 Auburn wins 13th straight, beats Ole Miss

Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport / Getty

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Walker Kessler scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and No. 4 Auburn rallied from an early 14-point deficit to beat Mississippi 80-71 on Saturday night.

In extending its winning streak to 13 games, Auburn (16-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) also got 15 points from Jabari Smith, and 14 from both K.D. Johnson and Wendell Green Jr.

Auburn used a 24-9 run over nine minutes — including four 3-pointers, two by Green, and three layups from Kessler — to take a commanding 71-60 lead with 4:09 remaining. After that, Ole Miss never got closer than four points.

Tye Fagan led Ole Miss (9-7, 1-3) with 17 points, while Nysier Brooks had 14 points and eight rebounds and Matthew Murrell had 13 points and eight rebounds.

The Rebels built a 38-24 first-half lead and led 44-38 at halftime. Auburn responded with a 7-0 run in the final minute of the first half, setting up the successful second-half surge.

Auburn shot 50% from the field (29 of 58), including 8 of 25 from 3-point range (5 of 13 in the second half). Ole Miss was 24 of 54 from the field for 44% shooting, along with eight 3-pointers and a perfect 15 of 15 from the free-throw line.

BIG PICTURE

Auburn: The road win was important on several levels, especially since Ole Miss has been a prolonged source of frustration during the rise of Bruce Pearl’s program. The Rebels had won 10 of the 14 previous meetings, including sweeps last season and of the 2019 Final Four team. The Tigers dominated the final 21 minutes Saturday, limiting Ole Miss to 7 of 24 from the field in the second half.

Ole Miss: A month ago, the Rebels were serious NCAA tournament hopefuls. Since then, leading scorer Jarkel Joiner has been sidelined for six weeks with a lower back injury and top forward Robert Allen is out with a season-ending knee injury. The effort was inspired Saturday, but the Rebels could not keep the pace in the second half.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Auburn, the highest-ranked SEC team at No. 4, has won 13 straight games. Since No. 3 UCLA and No. 1 Baylor suffered losses during the week, the Tigers should climb to higher.

UP NEXT

Auburn: Begin a two-game homestand, starting with Georgia on Wednesday.

Ole Miss: Host Missouri on Tuesday.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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No. 4 Auburn wins 13th straight, beats Ole Miss
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