Ole Miss holds off Auburn, notches ninth straight win
Auburn, AL (Sports Network) - Marshall Henderson made the go-ahead free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining, and No. 23 Ole Miss survived Auburn, 63-61.
The Rebels (17-2, 6-0 SEC) are off to the best start in program history after sweating out their ninth straight win in the closing seconds of Saturday's tight battle.
Auburn had a chance to break a 61-61 tie with under 20 seconds to play, only to have Murphy Holloway come away with a clean block of a driving Chris Denson. The block led to a fastbreak the other way, where Reginald Buckner was denied at the rim by Shaquille Johnson with a lot of contact.
No foul was called, however, and the ball went out of bounds to Ole Miss with 6.4 ticks to go. Before the inbounds pass was even thrown in, Johnson clotheslined Henderson along the sideline, and the SEC's leading scorer calmly drained the eventual winning free throws.
Frankie Sullivan, the conference's second-leading scorer, was short on a contested 3-point try for Auburn as the buzzer sounded.
LaDarius White led Ole Miss with 17 points, while Henderson added 15 for the Rebels, who made just 2-of-15 from the charity stripe prior to Henderson's late makes but connected on 11 3-pointers.
Denson netted a game-high 18 points for the Tigers (8-11, 2-4), losers of four in a row for the second time this season.
The largest lead either team had in the second half was five, but Ole Miss never trailed in the final eight minutes.
Jarvis Summers' tip-in, which proved to be the game's last field goal, gave the Rebels a 61-56 lead with 3:40 remaining. Two free throws from Denson and two more from Sullivan made it a one-point game, and Denson was fouled on a drive with one minute to go.
He made just 1-of-2 from the foul line to tie it, and misses at both ends preceded the breakneck finish.
Auburn opened the game on a 9-0 run as the Rebels missed their first seven shots, but Henderson quickly caught fire and drained three shots from outside the arc to tie things, 11-11, less than seven minutes in.
The Tigers broke a 20-20 deadlock with another nine-point spurt later in the half, but 3-pointers by Summers and Aaron Jones in the final minute pulled Ole Miss within 33-31 at the break.
The Rebels exceeded the best start in program history set in the 1936-37 campaign ... Sullivan finished with 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting ... Summers had 14 points, while Holloway pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds in the win.
01/26 22:50:59 ET