OXFORD, MS - Tay Waller scored 29 points for the second straight game, but Auburn couldn't hold on in an 85-75 loss to Ole Miss in Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday. The Rebels outscored the Tigers 63-41 in the second half while shooting 67.9 percent from the field to come back from a 14 point deficit.
Ole Miss used a decisive 11-1 run to turn a 69-68 deficit into a 79-70 lead with 1:32 remaining.
"They got going offensively with Chris Warren and Terrico White," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "They struggled the first half, and we were able to stay in it. They got three or four guys going at one time. Offensive rebounding killed us.
"We got hurt on the glass. Murphy Holloway hurt us with a lot of offensive rebounds. Some of their guards hurt us on big plays at crucial times in the last five minutes of the game. They missed shots and got second and third opportunities at it."
After Ole Miss scored the first basket of the game, Tay Waller drained three straight 3-pointers to give Auburn an early 9-2 lead. Waller scored 15 of Auburn's first 17 points on five 3-pointers giving the Tigers a 17-7 lead with 13:35 left in the half.
Waller, who torched Arkansas for 29 points on 7-of-10 3-point shooting last Saturday, continued his hot hand by making six of his first seven 3-pointers against the Rebels, running his count to makes in 13 of his last 17 3-pointers attempted in both games.
Waller made six of his first seven shots while the rest of the Tigers were 2-of-16 with Auburn holding a 27-17 edge. A Frankie Sullivan 3-pointer gave the Tigers their largest lead of the half at 33-19 with 3:24 remaining before settling for a 34-22 halftime lead behind 18 first half points from Waller.
"They got a lot of offensive rebounds in the second half, and they got a lot of second chance shots," said Waller. "They killed us. Somehow how defense shut down the whole second half. They scored 63 points in the second half. When you play like that, you can't expect to beat anybody if you can't stop them. If you give up 63 points in one half, it is hard to win anywhere. In the second half, we had a meltdown defensively."
The Rebels could never get closer than nine points until Ole Miss scored nine quick points in just over a minute to close a 58-45 Auburn lead to only 58-54 with 7:57 to play. Ole Miss inched closer with a Reginald Buckner reverse layup to trail 61-59 and then Terrico White drilled a 3-pointer to give Ole Miss the lead at 66-65 at the 4:25 mark. It was Ole Miss' first lead since it scored the first basket of the game.
Auburn's Brendon Knox then fouled out of the game with 3:55 remaining and the game tied at 66.
Reed had 21 points for Auburn but he and Waller were the only two to score in double figures. Chris Warren scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half for Ole Miss while Terrico White added 21 points and Murphy Holloway 15 points and a monster 20 rebounds, seven of them offensive.
Ole Miss out rebounded Auburn 50-25 and had a 17-7 advantage in second chance points. The Rebels dominated the Tigers in the paint 34-16.
Auburn shot 36.1 percent from the field and made 13-of-30 shots from 3-point range and went 18-of-24 from the foul line. Ole Miss, which shot only 24.1 percent (7-of-29) in the first half, finished the game shooting 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the field. The Rebels were 7-of-19 from 3-point range, 5-of-11 in the second half. Ole Miss went 26-of-37 from the foul line.
Auburn fell to 13-15 overall and 4-9 in the SEC while Ole Miss improved to 18-9 overall and 6-7 in the SEC.
Auburn returns home to play the final two games in the 42-year Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum history against LSU on Saturday at 6 PM Central and Mississippi State next Wednesday.