By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels fell to the No. 4 Auburn Tigers 80-71 on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (9-7, 1-3 SEC) was led in the game by Tye Fagan with 17 points. Fagan got 12 points in the first half. He finished the game 6-for-11 from the field, 2-for-3 beyond the arc and 3-for-3 from the line.
“I’m proud of our team. I thought in that first 18 and a half minutes when we led by 12 or 13, how physical we played, how we guarded. We ran a really crisp offense against a really good defensive team,” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said. “Give Auburn credit with their rim protection in the second half. I thought we got the ball in some really good places and then their length really bothered us. (Walker) Kessler did a really good job. We had some pockets of some really good play, but just a disappointing loss for our team.”
The Rebels had three other players reach double figures in the game Nysier Brooks had 14 points, Matthew Murrell with 13 points and Jaemyn Brakefield added 10 points.
Ole Miss got off to a hot start against the Tigers in the first half of action going 6-for-11 from deep. Midway in the first half, Ole Miss got out a 27-20 lead and opened it up to a 14 point advantage 38-24 at the 6:04 mark.
Ole Miss’ Austin Crowley went out of the game in the first half with an ankle injury. Prior to leaving the game, Crowley knocked down a three pointer in five minutes of action.
Auburn cut it down it down to a six-point margin 44-38 at halftime.
Ole Miss shot 56.67 precent form the field in the opening half.
The Tigers climbed back into the game in the second half, shooting 46.43 precent from the field and held Ole Miss to 29.17 precent.
Auburn was led by Walker Kessler with 20 points and 10 rebounds. His teammates Jabari Smith and K.D. Johnson joined him in double figures with 15 and 14 points respectively.
Ole Miss shot 100 percent from the free-throw line on the night going 15-for-15. That was the best free-throw performance for the Rebels with at least 10 plus attempts since Nov. 18, 2008, and the best in SEC play since Feb. 28, 1959 versus Mississippi State.
The Rebels return to action on Tuesday as they play host to the Missouri Tigers. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.