Tigers Waste Waller's Big Scoring Night

For the second consecutive game, Tay Waller scored 29 points for the Tigers, but Auburn lost a double-digits lead in the second half to lose at Ole Miss.

Oxford, Miss.--Auburn folded down the stretch as Ole Miss battled back in the closing minutes to take an 85-75 SEC basketball victory over the Tigers on Wednesday night.

The Tigers led by double figures for much of the game, but Ole Miss shredded Auburn's defense in the second part of the second half and dominated the rebounding to make the big comeback.

Auburn wasted a strong offensive performance by Tay Waller, who scored 29 points as he hit 8-11 threes before fouling out with 1:19 left in the game.

The Tigers dropped to 13-15 overall and 4-9 in the conference. Ole Miss ended its three-game losing streak and improved to 18-9 overall and 6-7 in the conference.

In addition to collapsing defensively down the stretch, the Tigers were overwhelmed on the boards. The home team out-rebounded the Tigers 50-29 with 6-7 sophomore Murphy Holloway leading the way with 20 rebounds to go with his 15 points.

The huge rebounding edge translated to a 34-16 advantage for the Rebels for points in the paint.

Chris Warren, a 5-10 junior guard, sparked the comeback with 23 second half points after having just three at halftime. Terrico White scored 21 for the Rebels.

DeWayne Reed scored 21 points for the Tigers, but the senior had another uneven performance. He missed 12 of his 18 field goal attempts.

Waller and Reed were the only Tigers to score in double figures. Frankie Sullivan and Lucas Hargrove added nine points apiece for Auburn.

"We just got hammered, especially in the second half, rebounding the basketball," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "Holloway, we didn't have an answer for in there. He had 20 rebounds in the game with seven of those offensive rebounds.

"They had some timely ones from their backcourt players, too, at crucial times, too, where they do have a big size advantage," Lebo said. "We do not match up well with their big guards and struggled the second half getting stops."

Ole Miss scored first, but Waller nailed three treys before the Rebels scored again.

The Tigers led despite hitting just 11-33 field goals in the first half, but the team was 8-18 on treys. Oe Miss made just 7-29 first half field goals and turned the ball over 12 times in the first 20 minutes compared to six turnovers for the Tigers.

Ole Miss had a big first half edge in rebounds leading 29-19 and hit 6-11 free throws while Auburn made 4-6.

The Tigers led by 14 points on a layup by Lucas Hargrove with 11:04 to play. However, after that Ole Miss outscored the visitors 42-19.

Ole Miss didn't take the lead until 4:26 was left in the game when White hit a three-pointer from the wing to make the score 66-65.

Auburn regained the lead on a trey by Waller, but the Rebels moved on top 71-69 on a three by Chris Warren and steadily built the lead in the final three minutes and 18 seconds after that.

"It was just a frustrating game," Lebo said. "The last four, I told our team, on the road you have to go out on the road and grab a victory. They are not going to give it to you.

"We have had it right there for us to take, the last four on the road, and haven't gone at it the right way to be able to take it and make enough plays, offensively or defensively, or have the mental toughness to hunker down, get a stop, get a rebound, make a dirty play--the little things and be able to get a win and scratch it out somehow."

Auburn shot 36.1 percent for the game while Ole Miss hit 45.6 percent thanks to a making 67.9 percent of its shots after halftime.

The Tigers made 13-30 threes for the night at the Tad Smith Coliseum while Ole Miss hit 7-19. At the foul line Auburn was 18-24 and Ole Miss hit 26-37.

The Tigers had a dozen turnovers while Ole Miss had 15.

Auburn returns to action with a 6 p.m. home game on Saturday vs. LSU.

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