No. 21 Auburn hopes to take the mojo it has at home on the road when the Tigers visit Ole Miss for a Southeastern Conference game Tuesday night in Oxford, Miss.
Auburn (12-3, 2-1) stretched its home winning streak to 27 games with a 72-59 win over then-No. 13 Arkansas on Saturday, but are only 1-2 on opponents’ courts this season.
After taking on the Rebels (8-7, 0-3), the Tigers will be back on the road at LSU on Jan. 18, with a weekend home game against Mississippi State sandwiched in between.
The win over the Razorbacks followed a disappointing performance by the Tigers in a 76-64 mid-week loss at Georgia. Wendell Green Jr. led Auburn with 19 points, and Little Rock native Allen Flanigan added 18.
Green’s effort was a bounce-back performance after he scored only seven points on 2-of-12 shooting at Georgia. He was 5 of 8 from the field against Arkansas, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range. He also handed out five assists.
“Wendell’s tough, stubborn and confident,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “He takes a lot of contact.”
Green started the game with a four-point play, hitting a 3-pointer off the opening tip and adding a free throw when he was fouled on the play. Auburn never trailed after that. The Tigers shot only 43.6 percent from the field but held the Razorbacks to 33.9 percent shooting.
Even when Auburn went on a stretch of nearly eight minutes in the second half without a field goal, the Razorbacks weren’t able to capitalize. Arkansas was a mediocre 19 of 32 (59.4 percent) from the free-throw line. The Tigers never let the visitors closer than nine points in the second half.
“We needed that,” Pearl said. “They really showed me something tonight. The bounce back, the quick turnaround, played great from the start.”
Ole Miss enters Tuesday’s game riding a four-game losing streak after dropping a 64-54 decision at Mississippi State on Saturday. The skid started with a 66-65 loss at home to North Alabama on Dec. 20 and continued with losses to top-10 programs and SEC leaders Tennessee (63-59) and Alabama (84-62).
Rebels coach Kermit Davis bemoaned his team’s lack of toughness down the stretch at Mississippi State. The Rebels led 38-31 with under 12 minutes left and were outscored 33-16 the rest of the way.
“The last 12 minutes they just out-toughed our team, and that’s all that was to it,” Davis said. “They beat us to 50-50 balls, outrebounded us, every hustle play they made, and that’s just the difference in a rivalry game. It’s too bad that showed up today.”
The defeat left Ole Miss as one of two winless teams in SEC play. South Carolina is 0-2.
“We’ve got to get positive (Tuesday) and go right back and correct some of the mistakes that we had and play another nationally ranked team,” Davis said. “But you know we all signed up for it. We all signed up for this league.”
–Field Level Media