NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Nick Williams scored a career-high 22 points and led Ole Miss a 68-54 win over Auburn in Thursday's first round of the SEC Tournament at New Orleans Arena.
Williams, whose previous career-high was 21, was 9-of-14 shooting and drained four 3-pointers. Murphy Holloway added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Rebels (19-12), who have won four straight and might be able to make a case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they upset Tennessee in their second-round game Friday night.
Frankie Sullivan scored 15 points for Auburn (15-16), which lost for the fourth time in five games on the same day the NCAA acknowledged that federal investigators are looking into point-shaving allegations against suspended Tigers guard Varez Ward.
Kenny Gabriel and Chris Denson each scored 11 points for the Tigers, who were plagued by poor shooting much of the game, finishing at 32.7 percent (18 of 55). Ole Miss shot 43.8 percent (21 of 48) and out-rebounded Auburn 45-31. Gabriel, who is Auburn's second-leading scorer, is averaging just over 12 points a game, was limited to only 13 minutes because of foul trouble.
Williams hit consecutive 3s during a 12-4 Ole Miss run early in the second half that was capped by Demarco Cox's tip-in and gave the Rebels their largest lead to that point at 42-30.
Auburn declined to fold, responding with an 11-3 run of its own that included fast-break baskets by Denson and Josh Wallace after Ole Miss turnovers.
Denson's free throw had the Tigers as close as 45-42 with 9:10 to go before Ole Miss started to pull away again with the help of five straight points by Williams on his fourth 3 of the game and another jumper.
Williams later added a baseline jumper and a driving baseline floater to push the Rebels' lead to 57-48, and Ole Miss retained control the rest of the way while Auburn missed a handful of 3s.
Holloway had 10 of his points in the first half. His basket on a spin move in the lane, followed by his lob that set up Reginald Buckner's alley-oop jam, gave Ole Miss a 22-17 lead.
Rob Chubb hit a couple short jumpers to trim Auburn's deficit to 23-21, but Auburn did not hit from the field for the last 5:17 of the first half, while the Rebels' Williams drained a 3 and midrange jumper to make it 28-21.
Denson's free throws pulled Auburn to 28-23, and neither team scored again in the final minute before halftime.
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Alabama head coach Nick Saban on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's much-anticipated matchup. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Alabama head coach Nick Saban (starts at 36:16 mark)... read more
Ole Miss has been held under 100 yards rushing in each of its last meetings with Alabama, a 33-14 loss in 2012 and a 25-0 loss in 2013. Running the ball effectively and finding a balance is one area, the... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 22-28, 2014Football- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama... read more
Tuesday 9/23 at 4PM
@CoachHughFreeze reveals the helmets to the @olemissfb team at team meeting. pic.twitter.com/8jpVCvny4p— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September 29, 2014 2.
Wed 9/24 at 4PM
@OleMissFB practice hidden indoors so that team practice in helmets for safety reasons. pic.twitter.com/vA0Oo6Ps7S— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September... read more
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's... read more
Seeking its first win over a top-10 team since 2009, Ole Miss took a 1-0 lead but fell short to No. 10 Texas A&M, 2-1, Sunday afternoon. "I'm really happy with the team's performance," head coach Matt Mott said. "I'm... read more
Wearing the lighter blue helmets for the first time since 1994 to honor the late Chucky Mullins, the Ole Miss defense also honored his memory with perhaps the most dominant defensive performance of the Hugh Freeze Era. "Chucky would have... read more
Three areas to watch as No. 10 Ole Miss faces Memphis Saturday. Battle of the Quarterbacks Ole Miss and Memphis have both gotten steady quarterback play, as both teams rank inside the top-15 nationally in scoring offense. Senior quarterback Bo... read more
Playing in their fourth overtime game of the season, the Ole Miss soccer team played Arkansas to a 1-1 double-overtime draw on Thursday night. The teams combined for 30 shots, including 13 on goal, but the game was characterized more... read more
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' matchup with Memphis on Saturday (6:30 p.m. CT, Fox Sports Net). Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:21:20 mark. For... read more
Memphis is 2-1 heading into Saturday's matchup with wins over Austin Peay (63-0) and Middle Tennessee (36-17) and a 42-35 loss at No. 11 UCLA. The Tigers scored two early fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the Bruins at 35-35 with 13:44... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 15-21, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).- Sophomore... read more