OXFORD, Miss. – On a near-freezing night in Oxford, senior Terence Davis and a raucous crowd in The Pavilion were on fire as the Rebels defeated No. 11 Auburn, 82-67.
Behind a red-hot, 27-point and 12 rebound performance from Davis, Ole Miss extended the team’s winning streak to nine games while picking up its second conference win in as many tries.
While Davis’ double-double was the highlight of the evening for the Red and Blue, one important key to victory was Ole Miss’ domination in the paint.
Not only did the Rebels win the rebounding battle, 45 to 37, but they also outscored the Tigers in the paint, 30 to 12. Ole Miss maintained control down low from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Freshman K.J. Buffen and veteran Dominik Olejniczak combined for 27 points on the evening, proving how effective they can be in the paint for head coach Kermit Davis’ team.
The Rebels helped seal the win with consistent offensive play down the stretch as they extended their lead over the last several minutes of the contest, rendering Auburn’s comeback attempt futile.
In fact, Ole Miss never trailed throughout the entire 40 minutes of play.
The Rebels pushed the pace on the offensive end and relied on their effective defense to frazzle head coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers in key moments of the game. Ole Miss’ ability to push the pace at those critical times forced several Auburn players to pick up untimely fouls—which, in turn, allowed the Rebels to go on a 9-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Four Rebels finished in double figures: Terence Davis notched his 27, while Buffen added 16, Devontae Shuler tallied 14, and Olejniczak scored 11.
While neither team shot above their season average, the Ole Miss defense held the Tigers to a mere 33% from the floor, thus allowing the Rebels’ offense to have more shot flexibility late in the game.
The Tigers’ sub-par free throw shooting could be attributed, in part, to a rowdy Ole Miss crowd, as the students filled their section for the game–even though school is not back in session until next week.
Make no mistake, this is a huge win for the Rebels (12-2, 2-0 SEC). Games such as this will be looked upon when it comes to any NCAA Tournament discussion.
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Ole Miss looks to carry its impressive play into Saturday’s road game against State in Starkville. The Bulldogs (12-2, 0-1 SEC) enter the contest with a No. 14 national ranking, giving the Rebels yet another shot at a highly-ranked opponent.
The Rebels and Bulldogs tip off at Noon (CT), and the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.