OXFORD, Miss. - Kenny Gabriel had 15 points and Frankie Sullivan added 10, but Auburn lost another close league road game in falling at Ole Miss 61-54 in Tad-Smith Coliseum on Saturday.
Frankie Sullivan scored 10 points for Auburn.
Auburn (13-12, 3-8), which has lost four SEC road games by a combined 20 points, had an 11-point lead at 39-28 with over 15 minutes left, but Ole Miss (15-9, 5-5) answered with a 14-0 run to get back in it.
“It was another one of those road games where we gave ourselves an opportunity, so I am happy about that,” said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. “We just couldn’t make the plays when it counted. We talk about it all the time and work about it all the time. In those last four minutes of the game with the type of team that we are, we are not going to blow anybody out, and it is going to be possession games.
“In those last four minutes when it comes down to getting defensive stops and executing, they did a better job of that than we did. That was the difference. In the last four minutes of the game, we couldn’t get a competent shot at the basket and they turned us over. They finished and we didn’t.”
Sullivan, who became the 33rd Tiger to reach the 1,000 point club, made a 3-pointer on Auburn’s first shot attempt of the game to reach the coveted mark. He scored the Tigers’ first eight points of the game and led Ole Miss by himself at 8-6 just over four minutes in. Sullivan scored on a reverse layup to cap a 6-0 Auburn run for a 19-13 Tiger lead with 8:07 left.
Willy Kouassi had a tip-in to put the Tigers up 26-18 and Gabriel drained a 3-pointer to give Auburn its largest lead of the half at 31-21 with 22 seconds left to end a 10-3 run. Nick Williams hit a trey just before the buzzer for Ole Miss to make it 31-24 Auburn at halftime.
Noel Johnson, who came into the game 1-of-8 from 3-point range, made his second three of the night for a 39-28 Tigers lead with 15:25 to play.
Ole Miss answered with 14 straight points, 12 by Murphy Holloway, to take a 42-39 with 10:36 to go. Holloway, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, scored 14 consecutive for the Rebels as part of the stretch.
Ward ended the Auburn five-minute drought with a 3-pointer from the corner to tie it at 42 with 10 minutes to play. Nick Williams gave Ole Miss a 51-47 on a 3-pointer with 4:57 to play, but Auburn responded with four straight points, the last on a Gabriel dunk after a Sullivan steal to tie it at 51 with 2:57 left.
Gabriel sank a 3-pointer to make it 55-54 Ole Miss with 1:09 left but the Rebels answered with six straight points to end the game.
Ole Miss outshot Auburn 44.9 percent to 40.4 percent from the floor, including 53.8 percent for the Rebels in the second half. Auburn had 16 turnovers to Ole Miss’ 13 but the Rebels had a 19-10 edge in points off turnovers and a 16-11 advantage in second half points despite both teams having 33 rebounds.
Ole Miss outshot Auburn from the foul line 13-of-25 to 6-of-10 as the Tigers committed 23 fouls and the Rebels 11.
Auburn has no midweek game and plays host to Mississippi State next Saturday at 7 p.m. CST at Auburn Arena on Fox Sports South.