The 23rd-ranked Ole Miss Rebels will try to extend the SEC's longest active winning streak on Saturday night, as they tangle with the Auburn Tigers.
Ole Miss suffered a scare in its latest contest on Thursday night, as it scored just 18 points in the first half against Tennessee. However, it was able to rally after intermission to capture the 62-56 win for its eighth straight victory. The Rebels (16-2, 5-0 SEC) are off to their best start since the 1936-37 season, and a win tonight will give them the first 6-0 start to conference play in program history.
Following a three-game win streak to open the 2013 calendar year, Auburn was able to surge above .500 at 8-7, but since then it has dropped three straight decisions, all in SEC action. The Tigers recently traveled to Nashville for a bout with Vanderbilt and came out on the wrong end of a 73-61 decision.
The Tigers won two of three bouts against Ole Miss during the 2011-12 season to improve to 74-51 in the all-time series.
Ole Miss owns the nation's fifth-ranked scoring offense (81.3 ppg), but it certainly didn't look like it in the opening 20 minutes against Tennessee, shooting a woeful 4-of-23 from the field (.174). Luckily it was able to right the ship after intermission by making 14-of-26 from the floor (.538), including eight 3-pointers en route to the six-point win. Marshall Henderson sparked the comeback, draining six triples while shooting 8-of-8 from the foul line to finished with 28 points, further cementing his status as the SEC's top scorer (19.4 ppg). Reginald Buckner added 10 points and eight boards in the triumph, and while Jarvis Summers struggled with his shot (1-of-8), he handed out seven assists. The Rebels are able to pair Henderson with one of the league's top forward in Murphy Holloway, who connects on 55.7 percent of his field goal attempts for 15.4, while grabbing a league-high 10.4 rpg. Buckner (10.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.8 bpg), Summers (8.5 ppg, 3.9 apg) and Nick Williams (10.1 ppg) round out an outstanding starting five for the Rebels.
Auburn opened its game against Vanderbilt with a 12-4 run, but that was about the only thing that was worth celebrating as it shot less than 42 percent from the floor and committed 15 turnovers in what turned out to be a 12-point defeat. Rob Chubb and Frankie Sullivan shared the scoring spotlight for Auburn with 14 points apiece, while Brian Greene, Jr. added 11 points coming off the bench. Although Sullivan sports lackluster percentages from the field (.396), he is able to generate enough volume to rank second in the SEC in scoring at 17.2 ppg. The senior guard's saving grace is a solid effort from the foul line (.774), and he also hands out a team-high 3.1 apg. Chubb is a steady force in the paint, tallying 10.3 ppg and 7.8 rpg while shooting 53 percent from the field. Allen Payne contributes 8.3 ppg and 4.9 rpg for the Tigers, who average 68.4 ppg while surrendering 67.3 ppg.