By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Trailing by 10 at the half, No. 22 Auburn exploded for 50 second-half points in Tuesday's 85-70 win over Ole Miss at Auburn Arena.
"I don't think there's any question that we guarded them better the second half and wore them down," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "That had a lot to do with us being able to outplay them so much."
Auburn outscored Ole Miss 50-25 in the second half en route to its 13th consecutive victory, the Tigers' longest winning streak in 18 years.
Here are three takeaways from a win that improved Auburn's record to 15-1, 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference.
After shooting 17.6 percent (3-17) on 3-pointers in the first half, well below its 37.1 percent average, Auburn looked inside in the second half.
"We were settling in the first half and it was, 'My turn,'" Bruce Pearl said. "It fed off each other, so we talked about shot selection and we talked about whether we shot the shots that we wanted to shoot or the shots they wanted us to shoot. We settled. We didn't talk about not shooting the 3 but we talked about execution and not settling."
Auburn shot 55.6 percent in the second half, including 22 shots inside the arc while going 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
"I thought in the second half we passed the ball better in front of our bench," Pearl said.
The post players were also 6-of-7 on free throws, helping Auburn shoot 78.4 percent from the line.
"Anfernee was terrific tonight, didn't miss a shot," Pearl said. "He blocked three, but changed five or six more, eight defensive rebounds. He had his legs tonight."
McLemore also made his only 3-point attempt, a skill he started to develop last season and has deployed this year.
"I think we are very athletic," McLemore said. "We play with a lot of intensity and the crowd hyped us up, we had the most students to come to a game ever this year, so we just play with that intensity. Just because we might not be as big as other teams, we play very good because we play hard."
Auburn's student section, The Jungle, contributed mightily to the season's first sellout. Of the 9,121 in attendance, 3,392 (37.1 percent) were Auburn University students, enjoying late-night hoops on the eve of spring semester classes starting.
"It means everything," McLemore said. "We have the whole crowd hyping us up after every play, and it makes our play even better that we have so much support behind us."
"The crowd made an enormous difference tonight," Pearl said. "It was a record student crowd for this building. It was a sellout. They turned people away."
Auburn Athletics is organizing bus transportation to Starkville for fans wishing to attend Saturday's 2:30 p.m. CT tip at Mississippi State, with the Tigers going for their 14th consecutive win.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It's what we came here for. It's what we dreamed of."
🗣@coachbrucepearl on @AuburnMBB sellout (9,121, including 3,400 @AuburnU students).
AU (15-1, 3-0) beat Ole Miss 85-70 for 13th straight W. Next up: at MSU Saturday at 2:30. pic.twitter.com/PTc8dMCf0Y
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 10, 2018
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer