Auburn, Ala. – Chris Denson scored 18 points off the bench and Marshall Henderson made two foul shots with 6.4 seconds remaining as Auburn dropped a 63-61 heartbreaker to No. 23 Ole Miss on Saturday in Auburn Arena. The Rebels went 11-of-24 from 3-point range.
“I am disappointed in the loss, but I am proud of the way they fought in this game,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “It is like I told the guys, we all wanted to win. They were fighting their tails off to win, but it is a key indication that when we don’t care who gets the glory and we are doing this together and doing it for each other, we are a pretty good team. I am disappointed in the loss. We had our opportunities. The game wasn’t lost on that last play.”
Frankie Sullivan went to the line with 1:20 remaining in the game and sank both for a one-point deficit. The Tigers then came up with a steal and Denson knocked down 1-of-2 at the stripe to tie game at 61 with a minute to go.
Auburn (8-11, 2-4) got the ball back with 34.9 remaining after a defensive stop and took its final timeout. Blocked shots on both ends of the floor set the stage for an Ole Miss inbounds play under its own basket with just 6.4 seconds remaining.
Before the ball was passed inbounds, Shaquille Johnson was called for a foul on Ole Miss’ Henderson and the SEC scoring leader knocked down two free throws just 6.4 seconds on the clock. Josh Wallace, who finished with nine points and two assists and zero turnovers, got the ball up the floor for Auburn, but Sullivan’s desperation 3-point attempt was short.
Auburn opened up a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes after a pull-up jumper by Sullivan. Denson’s runner made it 11-2 with 15:34 on the clock in the first half. Mississippi (17-2, 6-0) answered with a 9-0 run to tie things at 11 with 13:19 remaining, thanks to three straight 3-pointers by Henderson.
A triple by Noel Johnson capped another 9-0 run for the Tigers and gave them a 29-20 lead with 5:21 to go before halftime. Chris Denson’s put-back of a Josh Wallace layup gave Auburn its first double-digit lead of the night, 33-23.
With Auburn leading by 10, the Rebels closed the first half on an 8-0 run and Aaron Jones banked in a 3-pointer, his first of the season in two attempts, as time expired before the break to cut the Tigers’ lead to 33-31.
Ole Miss took its first lead since 16-15 with 10 minutes to go in the first half on a 3-pointer by LaDarius White for a 40-38 lead with 15:31 to play. Henderson’s fourth 3-pointer made it 43-38 Ole Miss with 13:46 remaining in the game.
White led the Rebels with 17 points. Henderson, who came in leading the SEC with 19.4 points per game, added 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the floor. Jarvis Summers scored 14 points.
A 3-pointer by Shaq Johnson ended an 8-0 run by Ole Miss, and a three-point play by Wallace closed the Tigers to within 47-45 with 11:09 remaining. Two free throws by Denson tied the game at 47 and his layup made it an 11-4 run and two-point lead for the Tigers.
White’s 3-pointer answered the Auburn burst and put the Rebels back in control, 50-49, with eight minutes remaining. With 6:08 left in the game, Sullivan’s second 3-pointer closed Auburn to within 53-52.
Rob Chubb posted 10 rebounds and four blocks, while Sullivan scored 12 points with seven rebounds. Led by Denson, the Auburn bench outscored the Rebels’ reserves 24-10.
Ole Miss shot 4-of-17 from the free throw line. Ole Miss outshot Auburn from the floor, 43.6 percent to 36.4 percent and the Rebels went 11-of-24 from 3-point range to the Tigers’ 6-of-24.
The Tigers are in action next on Wednesday at Georgia at 6:00 PM.
Courtesy AU Media Relations