Mississippi tops Auburn 65-62
OXFORD, Miss. (AP)
Aaron Jones added 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and five steals for the Rebels (10-4), who were playing without suspended leading scorer Marshall Henderson.
Ole Miss has won five straight in the series against the Tigers. The Rebels won despite being outrebounded 40-30 and giving up 19 offensive rebounds.
Auburn (8-4) was led by Chris Denson's 28 points while KT Harrell added 11. Harrell missed a 3-pointer that could have tied the game on the final possession.
The loss snapped the Tigers' four-game winning streak.
Henderson was suspended a total of three games - the season opener on Nov. 8 against Troy, the Auburn game and Saturday's Mississippi State game - for on-and off-the-court issues during and following last season.
It was quickly apparent that the Rebels would miss Henderson's scoring ability - especially from the perimeter. Ole Miss did enough to take a 31-28 halftime lead, but lost it early in the second half after a stretch of just two points in seven minutes.
Auburn's backcourt of KT Harrell and Denson ranked one-two in the SEC in scoring coming into Thursday's game, but foul trouble kept Harrell off the floor for a big chunk of the second half, so the offensive load fell to Denson.
The 6-foot-2 guard responded brilliantly, pouring in points from all over the court, though he missed his final five shots in a 10-of-25 performance. The problem was he didn't have much help.
That allowed the Rebels to stay close. Ole Miss pushed ahead on back-to-back buckets by Jones - one on a 15-foot jumper and the other on a dunk - to give the Rebels a 62-57 lead with 1:42 remaining.
Jones also had a huge block with 25 seconds left, swatting away Malcolm Canada's layup attempt that would have made it a one-possession game.
It's a deflating loss for the Tigers, who had played their best basketball of the season coming into the Ole Miss game. Their four-game winning streak included victories over Boston College and Clemson.
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