Ole Miss Wins SEC Western Division, Doyne Sinks Auburn in Final Ticks
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) With a share of the SEC Western Division title at stake, Ole Miss guard Bam Doyne had one thought on his mind as he stood at the free throw line with 3.8 seconds remaining in a tie game with Auburn.

“Sink one free throw for a championship. Sink the first free throw,” said Doyne, who hit four consecutive free throws Saturday to cap an 83-79 win over the Tigers, guaranteeing Ole Miss a share of a division title that was last won in 2000-01.

Doyne’s four final free throws finished a decisive 8-2 rally by the Rebels in the final 43 seconds of play. Doyne led Ole Miss with 19 points, while Clarence Sanders scored 18 and Todd Abernethy added 15 and nine assists.

“Our guys willed themselves to the victory. We didn’t panic at the end,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “This win was a fitting end at home for our seniors. I hope everyone will look back on this team as the one that started it all.”

Ole Miss (19-11, 8-8) will share the division crown with the winner of Sunday’s Mississippi State-Alabama contest. Ole Miss will receive the West’s top seed in the SEC Tournament with an Alabama win.

“The seeding doesn’t matter. What matters is being division champions,” Doyne said. “We could’ve won this thing with a win in either of our two games before this, but we’re still division champions. That sounds right.”

Auburn (17-14, 7-9) was led by Quan Powell with 26 points, 22 coming in the second half on a 9-of-12 shooting performance. Josh Dollard had 21 points and 10 rebounds while Frank Tolbert added 13 points.

The Tigers seemingly had the game in hand with a 77-74 lead and ball possession with 43 seconds left. Consecutive turnovers set up a three-point shot by Sanders and layup by Jermey Parnell that gave Ole Miss a 79-77 lead with 32 seconds left.

Dollard’s layup with 25 seconds left pulled Auburn into a 79-79 tie, but Doyne was fouled with 3.8 seconds remaining as Ole Miss held the ball for the final shot. Doyne connected on both shots to give the decisive margin for the Rebels.

Auburn misfired on a lob pass from midcourt and Doyne added two final free throws just before the buzzer for the final margin. The Rebels had managed only 13-of-23 from the free throw line before Doyne closed it with four straight.

Ole Miss led 45-41 at halftime. Neither team led by more than eight points and the teams were tied or swapped leads eight times in the second half.

“It was a really good basketball game,” said Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, whose club had a three-game winning streak snapped. “It was two teams that overachieved this year that played with a lot of heart, soul and guts.”

The Tigers outrebounded Ole Miss 42-33 and shot 28-of-62, 45 percent, from the field. Auburn could not overcome 21 turnovers, as the Rebels turned it over only 10 times.

“It’s only right that it ended up this way,” said Abernethy, who was honored along with seniors Doyne and Sanders in pregame ceremonies. “We’ve had so many close games and close wins at home, it’s only right that this one went down to the last second.”

 


 

 

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