Rebels rally from 23 down to beat Auburn

Published 9:05 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

OXFORD (AP) — Ole Miss guard Terence Davis did not start Saturday’s game against Auburn, but the sophomore guard proved he knew how to finish it.

Davis scored 26 points — all in the second half — as the Rebels came back from a 23-point second half deficit to defeat Auburn 90-84.

“In the second half, I just played strong,” said Davis, who finished 11-of-13 from the field and added six rebounds despite three fouls. He only played four minutes in the first half after getting two quick fouls.

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The 23-point comeback tied the largest in Ole Miss history. It also rallied from 23 down to beat Alabama in 2010.

The Rebels trailed 52-29 with 18:13 left, but had cut it to single digits on a jumper by Cullen Neal with 12:37 remaining. They took the lead for good, at 70-69, on a 3-pointer by Neal with 5:06 to go.

“Defensively is where it turned for us,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “Thankfully, we were able to cut the margin quickly. It wasn’t as if it was a slow bleed. We had the thing down to 10 under the 12-minute media (timeout). Guys had some faith that we could get this done. Thankfully, we did.”

Ole Miss (15-10, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) needed 12 consecutive free throws in the final 1:17 to seal it. Deandre Burnett hit 10 of them and finished with 18 points.

Neal scored 20 points off the bench and Sebastian Saiz added 10 points and eight rebounds.

“We play segments where we look like a really good basketball team,” Kennedy said. “In the second half, we threw caution to the wind and I have players that have faith that they could somehow get it done.”

Ronnie Johnson led Auburn (16-9, 5-7) with 18 points, while Mustapha Heron and Danjel Purifoy added 16 and 12 points, respectively. Heron’s 3-pointer gave Auburn its biggest lead, 52-29, with 18:13 left.

“This is the most disappointing loss in my two and a half years at Auburn,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. “What else can I tell you? It’s my most disappointing loss here. The difference is at our place, they shot 23 free throws and made 19. Today they shot 23 and made 21 (in the second half).”

The Rebels led 78-71 on a Davis layup with 2:08 left, setting up their late run at the free throw line to seal it. The Rebels finished 27-of-31 from the line and 29-of-66 from the field.

Auburn 13-of-30 from 3-point range, including 4-of-6 by Johnson. The Tigers were only 5-of-8 from the free throw line and had 20 turnovers.