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Auburn's Furious Second Half Run not Enough to Down Ole Miss

Jared Harper scored 16 of Auburn's 18 final points in the second half against Ole Miss (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Wade Rackley)

Freshman Jared Harper put the team on his back late in the game. Despite scoring 16 of Auburn’s last 18 points, the Tigers could not pull it out in the end, falling to Ole Miss 88-85 Saturday night inside Auburn Arena. Harper was one of four players to end the first half with six points on Saturday night, but when Auburn found themselves down 74-68 with 3:12 remaining, the freshman took control. Harper scored every basket that led to Auburn tying the game at 80 with just over a minute remaining, which was enough to swing momentum Auburn’s way. However, it was a three-pointer by Ole Miss’ Rasheed Brooks that gave the Rebels the 83-80 lead, and Ole Miss would not give it back. Harper finished the night with a team-high 24 points. Behind him, was Mustapha Heron’s 20 point outing. Heron’s impressive night awarded him a spot in the Auburn record books. The Freshman from Waterbury, Connecticut has scored at least 10 points in each game that he has played in this season (15), which broke a record that was set by Auburn great Wesley Person during the 1990-91 season. The game with Ole Miss was Auburn’s third loss in as many SEC games, and each loss has been different. The Georgia game saw Auburn blow a huge lead, and Auburn was not able to overcome the strong start by Vanderbilt. The game with Ole Miss was the best game that Auburn has played since conference play began on December 29, and that consistent play will lead Auburn to new heights. Harper and Heron led Auburn in scoring, but another player that had a key role was transfer student-athlete Ronnie Johnson. Johnson ended the night with 12 points and had three rebounds in 19 minutes of action off of the bench. Auburn falls to 10-5, 0-3 in SEC play. The Tigers will hit the road twice next week, with games at Missouri on Tuesday, and at Kentucky on Saturday. In injury news, forward Danjel Purifoy left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury. Although it has not been announced, Head Coach Bruce Pearl says that it is likely that Purifoy will miss Tuesday’s game at Missouri.

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