Auburn-Ole Miss men, 3/3
*Before we start here with men's basketball, I have to pass this along. So I'm in my Oxford hotel room last night watching the Florida-Vanderbilt women's game -- I love Melanie Balcomb like you wouldn't believe -- and the first commercial after the broadcast was a pill for male enhancement. Surely I was the only man in the non-father division watching that game. Some advertising executive probably got a bonus for that decision ... thinking outside the box and all.
*Press-Register magnate Neal McCready asked me to say hello to all my faithful blog readers. He is sitting next to me at the BIG GAME. So to the three of you: Have a great day.
*Decatur (Ala.) Daily ace Bradley Handwerger is to my left. He has nothing nice to say.
*The player entrance to the Tad Pad is funny. It says:
OLE MISS 83, AUBURN 79
KEYS TO THE GAME
*Auburn commits two costly full-court turnovers during the final minute. Those directly lead to two baskets (five points) that compromise the Tigers' chances.
*Ole Miss doesn't make silly mistakes during the final 10 minutes.
*Auburn finishes with 21 turnovers. Ole Miss finishes with a 19-point advantage in points-off-turnovers.
*Ole Miss PG Todd Abernethy plays calmly, scores when his team needs baskets and dishes out eight assists. His ability to keep his team organized under pressure was critical.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Auburn F Quan Prowell (26 points, 5 rebounds)
Scored 22 second-half points, single-handedly giving his team a chance to win. His assertiveness pulled Auburn from an emotional quagmire during the first few minutes of the second half.
(Ole Miss PG Todd Abernethy deserves consideration. I just thought Prowell was more impressive on an individual level.)
UM, 83-79 (final): More to come.
UM, 79-77 (0:33, 2nd): Yep. Quick turnaround. Clarence Sanders hit a three to tie it, Auburn turned over in the full court and Ole Miss quickly scored again. It can disappear that quickly.
AU, 77-74 (1:12, 2nd): Josh Dollard scored on a quick turnaround move.
AU, 75-74 (1:32, 2nd): It's tight. Robertson has fouled out, forcing DeWayne Reed into the featured ball-handling role alone. Rasheem Barrett actually made a play -- grabbing a rebound and getting a short drive to get Auburn to 75 points.
AU, 71-69 (3:44, 2nd): Gravy Train is rollin'! He now has 20 points in the second half ... and there's plenty of time remaining. He is the offense, scoring 14 of Auburn's last 18 points. The Ole Miss fans gasp when Prowell gets the ball. It's like: "Nooooo." Can he keep it up?
UM, 66-65 (7:19 2nd): These teams finally are playing at a high level concurrently. The early part of the second half was ugly. Now it's getting fun. Gravy Train Prowell has 15 points in this half. He's ballin'. Tolbert is NOT playing well today. They need to get him off the floor. The problem is that G Quantez Robertson has four fouls. He's sitting for now.
Tied, 56-56 (11:23, 2nd): F Quan Prowell, whom I call "Gravy Train", is going off in the second half. He has nine points this half; 13 overall. He's ready to play. He's a second-half player. Ole Miss looks confused on offense now that Abernethy can't operate freely.
UM, 51-45 (15:47, 2nd): Aside from a couple nice individual moves near the basket, Auburn's offense isn't getting much. It's clear that the Tigers are pressuring Ole Miss PG Todd Abernethy with more authority. I just don't see how Auburn can win this game with an offense this troubled.
UM (45-41): Ole Miss went on a 13-0 run late in the half. Auburn scored on its final three possessions to save face. The Tigers' offense is not performing right now. It's not really a matter of missing shots -- there haven't been many good shots to take. Auburn's defense was awful for a while, but toughened later. It looks like an effort thing to me.
Why is Rasheem Barrett playing this much? He hasn't accomoplished much in his 13 minutes.
Josh Dollard has 15 points so far. 5-7 from the field, 4-4 at the line, 4 assists, 5 rebounds.
AU, 35-34 (3:17, 1st): Auburn's offense isn't flowing. They're patient but Ole Miss is playing excellent defense. Ole Miss is getting too many offensive rebounds right now.
Tied, 26-26 (7:35, 1st): Auburn's low-percentage shots aren't falling now. Big surprise. Oh, and the Tigers now have two turnovers against the full-court press. I guess I jinxed them. G Frank Tolbert looks lost -- dumb passes and weird decisions. PG DeWayne Reed is playing with two fouls.
AU, 24-18 (11:26, 1st): Auburn's offense keeps rolling. Really, though, they're hitting a lot of low-percentage shots right now. It's just clicking. Ole Miss is still bombing away from the outside; hitting a few. The Tigers are really good at handling full-pressure defense. It's been that way all season.
AU, 12-9 (15:26, 1st): Not much going on yet. Auburn's offense has been patient, hence the Tigers' lead. Defensively, there isn't much data yet. Ole Miss seems anxious to fire away from outside. Not sure if that's a long-term strategy. PF Vot Barber just dropped a spin move ... best single play of the season for him. He's come a long way.