OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — It was so wild Auburn coach Bruce Pearl called it the craziest game he had seen in a long time.
When it finally ended, the Tigers had a hard-fought victory. Barely.
Isaac Okoro converted a big three-point play with 1:41 left in the second overtime, and No. 17 Auburn topped Mississippi 83-82 on Tuesday night.
Okoro had 14 points and nine rebounds for Auburn (18-2, 5-2 SEC), which trailed by as many as 19 early in the second half. Anfernee McLemore led the Tigers with 19 points, and Samir Doughty had 17.
The game was tied at 78 before KJ Buffen made two layups for Mississippi. But J’Von McCormick’s jumper got Auburn within two with 2:32 remaining.
After Devontae Shuler missed a jumper for Ole Miss, Okoro drove inside and scored while being fouled by Bryce Williams. The freshman then made the ensuing free throw to give Auburn the lead.
“Okoro is really good and he’s really hard not to foul on the drive. McLemore was tremendous,” Pearl said. “We were able to get them out of rhythm with a press we had not shown this year, so credit our assistant coaches with that adjustment.”
The Rebels (10-10, 1-6) had a chance for the win in the closing seconds, but Blake Hinson missed a 3-point try.
Shuler had 26 points for Mississippi, and Hinson finished with 16. Khadim Sy added 13 points and seven rebounds.
“Credit Auburn for a great comeback,” Mississippi coach Kermit Davis said. “I thought our guys really fought it, really competed hard. We just couldn’t guard the dribble penetration without sending them to the foul line.”
The teams combined for a whopping 68 free-throw attempts. The Tigers went 26 for 36 at the line, and the Rebels were 24 for 32.
Mississippi got off to a fast start, grabbing a 37-20 halftime lead on Khadim’s layup in the final seconds. The Rebels shot 56% (14 for 25) from the field in the first half, compared to 21.4% (6 for 28) for the Tigers.
Hinson’s 3-pointer made it 48-31 with 12:35 remaining. The Tigers then got back in the game with 12-0 run, closing to 48-43 on McLemore’s jumper.
The Tigers used a 13-3 spurt to tie at 64 with 2:07 left. McCormick capped the surge with a layup.
Shuler made two free throws with 32 seconds to go and two more with 22 seconds left in the first overtime to help extend the game. He went 13 for 18 at the line.
Mississippi’s Breein Tyree, who was leading the SEC in scoring at 18.9 points per game coming into the night, finished with just eight points on 2-for-8 shooting. He fouled out with about five minutes left in regulation.
Auburn: Led by Okoro and Austin Wiley, who also had nine boards, the Tigers enjoyed a 45-33 rebounding advantage. They had 16 offensive rebounds and a 19-6 lead in second-chance points. It was an important rally considering the team’s tough upcoming schedule.
Mississippi: The Rebels shot just 33.3% (7 for 21) in the second half.
Auburn: Hosts No. 13 Kentucky on Saturday.
Mississippi: Visits No. 22 LSU on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25