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Auburn controls the paint, Ole Miss in 67-58 victory

Auburn center Austin Wiley (50) gets a dunk in the second half.
AU MBB v Ole Miss  on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Auburn, Ala. 
Todd Van Emst
Auburn center Austin Wiley (50) gets a dunk in the second half. AU MBB v Ole Miss on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 in Auburn, Ala. Todd Van Emst

Double overtime was not needed in Tuesday night’s version of Auburn versus Ole Miss. It was a battle that was won 67-58 by Auburn in regulation and saw a familiar freshman make a return to the lineup.

Auburn’s 67 points tie the fewest in a victory this season, with the other game being Saint Louis, where Auburn won 67-61. Out of the 67 points, 57% of them were in the paint, where the Tigers lived offensively.

Senior Austin Wiley led the charge, ending the game with 15 points. Wiley got in foul trouble early, limiting his first half minutes to six. The big man played a huge role in the second half though, scoring 11 points and snagging eight rebounds.

“[Bruce Pearl] told me I was going to play most of the second half, so just be smart with fouls and he’s going to keep me out there,” Wiley said.

Ole Miss lacks a player of Wiley’s strength and size at the five spot, which Auburn was able to take advantage of. They outscored Ole Miss in the paint 38-18 and had eight dunks on the night.

“[Wiley] got some pretty good touches at the rim, Isaac [Okoro] got a couple at the rim, Samir [Doughty] was able to get it to the rim off the bounce,” Pearl said. “We did a pretty good job there.”

Doughty also excelled in the second half, scoring 10 of his 14 total points in the final 20 minutes of play. The senior guard was tied with J’Von McCormick in a team-high of minutes played, with 32.

“I love Samir and his toughness throughout the game,” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said. “We couldn’t keep him out of the paint.”

Auburn now heads to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday to face Kentucky. The Tigers’ last win in Rupp Arena was in 1988, when the unranked Tigers upset the then-ranked No. 1 Wildcats 53-52. The game on Saturday will tip off at 2:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.

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