Prowell, Reed Lead Tigers to Win at Ole Miss

Auburn had its best offensive performance of the season as the Tigers snapped a losing streak on Saturday vs. Ole Miss.

Oxford, Miss.--With Quan Prowell and DeWayne Reed leading the way, Auburn snapped its five-game SEC basketball losing streak with a 90-78 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday.

Prowell led an impressive offensive performance for Jeff Lebo's club with 25 points, one shy of his career best. The senior hit 11-15 field goals and added five assists plus four steals. He was 3-5 on threes, blocked a shot and pulled down four rebounds and helped keep Ole Miss standout Dwayne Curtis under control. Curtis finished with eight poiints and six rebounds.

Reed, a sophomore guard who scored a career-high 21 points vs. the Rebels in Auburn's victory over Ole Miss on Jan. 19th, came through with a new career-high of 23 points. Reed hit 5-10 field goals, including 4-7 threes, and made 9-12 free throws. Reed finished wtih four assists, five turnovers, three steals and three rebounds.

The Tigers shot a season-best 62.7 percent from the field as they improved their record to 13-10 overall and 3-7 in the SEC. Ole Miss dropped to 17-7 overall and 3-7 in the league.

Frank Tolbert and Rasheem Barrett each contributed 15 points to the winning effort.

Auburn's point total was its highest of the season. The previous high came in an 89-59 victory at Charleston Southern on Nov. 19th.

"I think the week off helped us obviously," Lebo said. "I think we sustained our effort for the entire 40 minutes of this basketball game, which was very important."

The fresh legs may have helped AU's shooting. The Tigers nailed 10-20 three-pointers.

Auburn led most of the first half, but trailed 43-42 at halftime after letting the Rebels come back from double-digit deficits.

A Barrett turn-around jumper put the Tigers on top 9-7 with 15:16 on the clock. The Rebels didn't score again until Tigers were up 18-7 with the help of three-pointers from Prowell and Quantez Robertson.

Auburn stretched the lead to 13 points at the 9:51 mark when Reed hit a three-pointer from the top of the circle to make the score 24-11.

However, Ole Miss, which was cold with its shooting to open the game against AU's changing zone defensive looks, found the range from three-point territory. After missing their first seven threes, the Rebels hit six of their next seven.

A three by David Huertas with seven minutes left in the half put the Rebels up by a point at intermission despite strong shooting from the Tigers, who hit 17-27 field goals and 5-10 threes in the first half. Prowell scored 16 first half points for Auburn while Reed added 11.

In the first half Ole Miss hit 17-32 field goals and 6-15 threes to keep pace with the Tigers, who turned the ball over nine times in the first half, two more than Ole Miss, which out-rebounded AU 13-11 in the first 20 minutes.

"I thought the first half we played awfully outside of four possession we had in a row I thought that really hurt us with turnovers and some quick shots that got them some momentum," Lebo said. "I was worried at the half that we had shot 62 percent and we were down one. I was worried if we could shoot the ball that well in the second half and they did, luckily.

"I am proud of the kids," Lebo added. "Let's give them credit. They have battled. It is has been tough, it's been hard, we have lost some close games. We had a hard stretch where we haven't had a win."

The Rebels stretched their lead to 46-42 early in the second half, but Auburn pulled ahead again at the 16:21 mark on a basket by Barrett. The Tigers then took a lead they would never surrender when Tolbert nailed a three from the corner to put the visitors up 53-51 with 15:35 to play.

A mid-range jumper by Barrett at the 13:36 mark put Auburn up 60-53, but the Rebels outscored the Tigers 7-2 to narrow the lead to two points at the 9:50 mark. However, the Tigers quickly extended their margin back to seven with a layup by Prowell and a three-pointer from the wing by Barrett with 9:10 to play.

A three-pointer from the wing by Reed at the 7:07 mark put the Tigers ahead 74-64. They took their biggest lead, 15 points, with 17.8 seconds to play as Reed hit a pair of free throws.

"We shot the ball so darn well," Lebo said. "You are supposed to win when you shoot 63 percent, 50 from three and 70 from the foul line. I thought we got, for the most part, high percentage looks and we put the ball in the basket.

"It certainly was a big game for us to win on the road in a tough place to play against a team that really needed to win, too," Lebo said. "I thought we executed awfully well."

Although he didn't join his teammates with double figures for points, Robertson had a strong game, too. He finished with 10 assists and just one turnover while scoring eight points and leading the Tigers on the boards with eight rebounds.

Trevor Gaskins led Ole Miss in scoring with 15 points.

The Tigers had 13 turnovers, two fewer than Ole Miss and were out-rebounded 28-24.

Auburn hit 16-23 free throws while Ole Miss made 10-17. The Rebels had a good shooting game from the field, making 51.7 percent of their shots.

Ole Miss freshman guard Chris Warren, who burned the Tigers for 25 points last month, was held to just six shots and eight points.

"I give all the credit to Auburn," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "They came in and were the more aggressive team. They certainly made plays when presented. They had us on our heels. We tried a little bit of everything, but we had no answer."

Commenting on his team's slump, which includes four losses in its last five games, Kennedy said, "You really don't know what you have until you go through adversity. We've been hit with some adversity and have not responded the way I would have hoped we would. You have to play incredibly hard. You have to make plays that are there. We're leaving too many plays on the table.

"I'm the head coach here and the buck stops with me," Kennedy added. "I take full responsibility for the play of our team. Learning is a shared responsibility."

Auburn returns to action on Wednesday at Tennessee. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CST.

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