Auburn forward Walker Kessler (13) dunks against Georgia during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

No. 3 Auburn Bounces Back

No. 3 Auburn redeemed themselves as they beat unranked Ole Miss 77-64 on Wednesday.

The Tigers recently fell short against the unranked Florida Gators last Saturday 63-62. This close game was an upset to the Tigers, as the loss resulted in Auburn going down in the rankings.

Ole Miss Struggles

Ole Miss fell short against Auburn both offensively and defensively as Auburn proved to be unstoppable throughout the entire game. Both Matthew Murrell and Jarkel Joiner missed their most recent game against Georgia due to the flu. However, they were cleared this week and came back for this game. During the first half, Ole Miss lost their starting and top player, Murrell, who had to leave the game with 2:10 left in the first half due to being elbowed in the game. Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis revealed that Murrell has entered concussion protocol.

Auburn Success

Many Auburn players had a lot of success due to making great shots, plays and even breaking a block record. Jabari Smith won SEC freshman of the week for the fifth time this season and proved to be an impactful player in the game as he made 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Wendell Green Jr. and Zep Jasper dominated the game with the consistent threes they made. Green Jr. made 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jasper increased his stats this game and credited his success to Coach Bruce Pearl, who recently spoke to him about being more aggressive and creating more shots. Jasper scored 15 points.

Walker Kessler broke Auburn’s 19-year-old school record of blocked shots. Kessler has made a total of 131 blocks this season. He made great plays in the paint, where he would pivot and get past his contenders to put up a lot of points. He also had a steal that led to a fast break for the Tigers, which created significant momentum for the Tigers to continue to take the lead. Kessler made 12 points, ten rebounds and eight blocks.

What’s Next

Auburn will be going on the road this Saturday and will be playing the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers at 4 p.m.

Ole Miss’s next game will be at home, and they will be taking on Texas A & M on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

About Cristina Santiago

Cristina Santiago is a senior at the University of Florida studying journalism with a concentration in sports and media.

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