OXFORD, Miss. – Ronnie Johnson had a season-high 18 points and eight assists off the bench to lead Auburn as the Tigers fell at Ole Miss 90-84 in The Pavilion on Saturday.
Auburn closed the first half on a 26-8 run in the final seven minutes to lead 47-27 behind Johnson’s 11 points, making all three 3-point attempts and dishing out five assists off the bench. The Tigers shot 56 percent from the floor, making 8-of-14 (.571) treys and held the Rebels to 26.5 percent shooting.
Mustapha Heron’s trey early in the second half gave the Tigers their largest lead at 52-29, but four-straight turnovers allowed the Rebels to cut it to 52-40 with 15:24 left.
The Rebels scored 10 straight points to close to within 60-58 with 9:55 to go while Purifoy’s third trey gave the Tigers a 65-60 edge. Cullen Neal’s 3 with five minutes left gave Ole Miss a 70-69 lead, it’s first since early in the first half.
Johnson’s 3 cut the Ole Miss lead to 80-76 with 1:11 to go.
Ole Miss scored the first eight points of the game, but Purifoy answered with back-to-back 3-pointers.
Auburn 13-0 run in 7:07 to take 21-14 lead with 8:23 left, and the Tigers used a 14-4 run to increase the lead to 35-23 with a pair of Ronnie Johnson treys and one by Brown.
Auburn fell to 16-9 overall, 5-7 in the SEC while Ole Miss improved to 15-10, 6-6.
Terence Davis scored all 26 of his points in the second half to lead Ole Miss, while Cullen Neal scored 15 of his 20 after halftime.
The Tigers committed 20 turnovers and were outscored 26-12 in points off turnovers.
Auburn plays host to No. 17 Florida (20-5, 10-2) on Tuesday at 6 pm CT on the SEC Network. The Gators, who defeated Texas A&M 71-62 for its sixth-straight win on Saturday, have won 13 of their last 15 games.