Rebels Edge Tigers As AU Road Woes Continue

Despite a double-double from Marco Killingsworth, Ole Miss was able to hang on for a 72-68 men's basketball victory in Oxford.

Oxford, Miss.--The Auburn men's basketball team is still winless in conference road games as the Ole Miss Rebels pulled out a 72-68 victory at Tad Smith Coliseum on Saturday despite a strong performance from Marco Killingsworth.

The 6-7 junior from Montgomery led the Tigers with 23 points and 11 rebounds, however, the forward didn't have enough scoring support from his teammates.

Auburn slipped to 3-7 in the conference and 12-9 overallOle Miss improved to 4-6 in the league and 12-9 overall after avenging an 80-53 loss to the Tigers back on Jan. 10th.

For the Rebels, it was a fourth straight homecourt win as well as a victory that ended a two-game losing skid. Aaron Harper, who was ineffective in the first game vs. Auburn, led the way to a victory with a career-high 30 points.

Harper hit 9-13 field goals, including four of seven treys. He was 8-11 at the foul line. When the Rebels played at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, Harper managed just five points.

Justin Reed added 15 points for the Rebels, who shot 58.1 percent from the field while Auburn made 46.4 of its shots. The Rebels were 6-11 on threes and 16-22 at the foul line. Auburn hit 8-26 threes and 8-14 free throws.

Auburn kept the game close by holding a 32-23 rebounding edge. The Tigers had 18 turnovers to 15 for the Rebels.

Ole Miss jumped to a quick 7-2 lead, but Auburn caught the Rebels when Ian Young hit a three-point jumper to put the Tigers on top 11-10 at the 12:48 mark of the first half. The lead changed hands throughout the rest of the opening 20 minutes that ended with the home team on top 32-31.

Ole Miss built a four-point lead early in the second half before Auburn rallied to take a 40-37 advantage on a basket by Quinnel Brown at the 14:17 mark. However, that edge didn't last long as the Rebels took the lead for good on a three-point shot by Harper at the 11:48 mark.

Auburn kept the Rebels from pulling away, but could never get closer than two points from the lead the rest of the way.

Quinnel Brown

The Tigers made a late run when Brown nailed a three-pointer with 32.8 seconds left to cut the margin to 67-65. Justin Johnson then missed one of his two free throws with 27.5 seconds left giving the Tigers a chance to tie the game. However, Lewis Monroe missed a three-pointer and the loose ball went to Ole Miss on an alternate possession arrow.

Brown hit another three to cut the gap to 70-68 in the closing seconds and AU immediately fouled, but a pair of free throws with four seconds left by Johnson iced the victory.

Brown scored 13 points for the Tigers and Ian Young came off the bench for 11. Brandon Robinson continued his scoring slump. He had just two points in a reserve role.

Killingsworth hit 9-12 field goals and 5-7 free throws on his way to the double-double.

Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said he was pleased with the effort. "I told our basketball team I was disappointed we weren't able to pull it out, but we sure gave ourselves an opportunity."

Auburn returns to action on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. road game vs. LSU. The Tigers return to home next Saturday with a 1 p.m. home game vs. Kentucky.

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