OXFORD — Zach Graham scored a career-high 30 points, Chris Warren added 15 and Ole Miss cruised to a 90-59 victory over Auburn on Wednesday night.
Graham scored 14 points in the first half as the Rebels used a 19-5 run at the end of the first half to take a 39-22 lead. He was even better in the second half, finishing the game shooting 9 of 15 from the field and 7 of 11 from 3-point range.
Ole Miss (17-9, 5-6 Southeastern Conference) has won four out of its past five games to keep its slim NCAA Tournament at-large bid hopes alive. The Rebels have a favorable schedule in the regular season’s final few weeks — only one out of their remaining five opponents has a winning conference record.
Auburn (9-16, 2-9) was coming off its biggest win of the season, beating Mississippi State after trailing by 19 in the second half. But the Tigers never led against the Rebels, done in by poor defense and shoddy shooting as Ole Miss shot 56.8 percent from the field for the game.
Chris Denson led Auburn with 16 points.
The numbers were even more astounding for the Rebels in the second half, as they shot 70 percent from the field (14 of 20), 60 percent from 3-point range (6 of 10) and 89.5 percent from the free-throw line (17 of 19).
Graham’s had a steady senior season, averaging more than 14 points per game. But he’s usually been overshadowed by Warren, who is among the SEC’s leaders with 18.6 points per game.
That wasn’t the case on Wednesday — as Graham was far and away the best player on the court. The 6-foot-5 guard got several open looks and knocked most of them down. Terrance Henry added 14 points — all in the second half — and Reginald Buckner added 11 points and three blocks.
Ole Miss, which outrebounded Auburn 33-26, never trailed. The Rebels jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the opening minutes.
Auburn pulled within 20-17 with 6:56 left on in the first half after a pair of free throws by Josh Wallace, but Ole Miss responded with its huge 19-5 run, using back-to-back 3-pointers from Nick Williams to pull away]]]]> ]]>