Little-Used Reserves Spark Auburn to Victory

Moses Edun and Brett Howell had their best games of the season as Auburn defeated Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Little used reserves Moses Edun and Brett Howell had no warning that they were going to play key roles in Auburn's 58-50 victory over Ole Miss, but that was the case as the Tigers overcame a horrible first half and won their second SEC game of the season.

Edun, a 6-5 junior walk-on guard from Ellenwood, Ga., provided a defensive spark in the second half and set key screens to free his teammates for shots as the Tigers rallied from a 14-point deficit for the victory.

Howell, a 6-1 junior guard from Auburn High who has been injured most of the season, scored nine first half points to keep the Tigers in striking range during a stretch when Coach Jeff Lebo's team could do little right offensively.

"I had no idea I was going to play," said Howell, who was on the court for 12 minutes. He took five shots, all treys, and made three. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes cited Howell's play as one of Auburn's keys to victory.

Edun, who also played 12 minutes, didn't score and had only one rebound, but he contributed three steals and was the defensive leader on a second-half Auburn full-court, zone trap press that sparked the comeback.

Moses Edun

"Getting to play means a lot," Edun said. "I go into practice every day looking to play as hard as I can to help the team. It's great to be able to get in the game and help us win."

Coach Jeff Lebo said he liked what he saw from both players and said their contribution could lead to more playing time in coming games. Going into Wednesday night's contest, Howell had only been on the court for 23 minutes this season and had scored just three points. Edun had played just 44 minutes.

"Moses and Brett were terrific for us," Lebo said. "They gave us some energy and execution to get us back in the game."

Even though Edun didn't score, Lebo said that the guard had a lot to do with Auburn's offensive improvement in the second half. The Tigers shot a miserable 28 percent in the first half and trailed 29-23 at intermission. Auburn hit 56 percent of its shots in the second half and scored 35 points in the final 20 minutes.

"Moses did a great job screening against the Ole Miss defense and that gave us opportunities for good shots," Lebo said. "We were setting no screens in the first half and our execution was terrible."

Lebo admitted he blistered his players at halftime about their lack of intensity and execution in the first half.

Brett Howell takes a shot vs. the Rebels.

Howell and Edun agreed that their head coach was not a happy man at halftime when discussing his team's play in the first half.

Howell added that getting to be a major contributor, after sitting out with ankle and ribs injuries, was a "blast" as the Tigers improved to 10-10 for the season and 2-7 in the SEC.

Howell also said that he was impressed with the play of Edun, noting that the guard energized the Auburn defense with tenacious play on the full-court press. Ole Miss turned the ball over 23 times and Howell said that Edun helped force a significant number of those Ole Miss miscues.

Auburn scored 17 points off of those turnovers and limited the Rebels to just 17 made field goals and only 27 field goals attempted while giving up an SEC-low total for the season of just 50 points.

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