Ole Miss claims a share of the SEC West championship with 83-79 win over Auburn

Published 5:19 am Sunday, March 4, 2007

With a share of the division title at stake, Mississippi guard Bam Doyne could only think one thing as he stood at the free throw line with just seconds remaining in a tie game with Auburn.

“Sink one free throw for a championship,” Doyne said. “Sink the first free throw.”

He hit four free throws Saturday in the last 3.8 seconds, giving the Rebels an 83-79 win over the Tigers and a share of a Southeastern Conference Western Division title for the first time since 2001.

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Doyne’s free throws capped a frantic comeback by Mississippi, which outscored Auburn 9-2 in the final 43 seconds.

“Our guys willed themselves to the victory. We didn’t panic at the end,” said Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy. “This win was a fitting end at home for our seniors. I hope everyone will look back on this team as the one that started it all.”

Doyne led the Rebels (19-11, 8-8) with 19 points, Clarence Sanders added 18 and Todd Abernethy put 17 on the board.

The win gave Ole Miss no worse than a tie for the division title with the winner of Sunday’s Mississippi State-Alabama game.

Quan Powell led Auburn (17-14, 7-9) with 26 points. Josh Dollard scored 19 points and Frank Tolbert had 13 for Auburn.

Trailing 77-74, Ole Miss forced consecutive turnovers in the final 40 seconds that led to a 3-point shot by Sanders and a layup by Abernethy for a 79-77 lead with 32 seconds left.

Auburn answered on a Dollard dunk for a 79-79 tie with 25 seconds left.

Doyne hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left after Ole Miss held for a final shot. Auburn misfired on a desperation lob pass with less than a second remaining and Doyne capped it with two insurance free throws at the buzzer.

“It was a really good basketball game,” said Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, whose club had a three-game winning streak snapped. “It was two teams that overachieved this year that played with a lot of heart, soul and guts.”

Ole Miss led 45-41 at halftime. Neither team led by more than eight points and the teams were tied or swapped leads eight times in the second half.

AUBURN (17-14)

Tolbert 4-11 3-4 13, Dollard 8-15 4-4 21, Reed 1-6 0-0 2, Robertson 1-2 0-0 2, Barber 3-9 1-2 7, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Barrett 1-5 6-8 8, Prowell 10-14 1-1 26. Totals 28-62 15-19 79.


Abernethy 6-13 2-2 15, Sanders 7-16 0-0 18, Doyne 4-10 8-12 19, Curtis 4-6 1-4 9, Williams 4-6 1-1 9, Smith 0-1 1-2 1, Polynice 2-6 2-2 6, Parnell 2-4 2-4 6. Totals 29-62 17-27 83.

Halftime—Mississippi 45-41. 3-Point Goals—Auburn 8-17 (Prowell 5-6, Tolbert 2-5, Dollard 1-2, Robertson 0-1, Reed 0-1, Barrett 0-2), Mississippi 8-23 (Sanders 4-10, Doyne 3-7, Abernethy 1-4, Smith 0-1, Polynice 0-1). Fouled Out—Robertson, Tolbert. Rebounds—Auburn 42 (Dollard 10), Mississippi 33 (Curtis 7). Assists—Auburn 16 (Dollard 5), Mississippi 19 (Abernethy 9). Total Fouls—Auburn 24, Mississippi 15. A—8,116. A—8,116.