Auburn tops Ole miss behind Kessler’s record-breaking night
AUBURN, Ala. – Walker Kessler set Auburn’s season record for blocked shots and the Tigers’ point guards combined for 29 points Wednesday to lead No. 3 Auburn to a 77-64 victory over Ole Miss to sweep the season series.
The Tigers (25-3, 13-2) improved to 15-0 at Auburn Arena and maintained their one-game lead over Kentucky in the race for the Southeastern Conference championship with three games remaining.
Needing three blocks to tie Kyle Davis’ season record of 126 in 2002-03, Kessler blocked five in the first half and finished with eight to bring his total to 131.
Kessler came within two blocks of his third triple-double of the season, scoring 12 points and adding 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season.
Zep Jasper made 4 of 5 3-pointers and scored a season-high 15 points and Wendell Green Jr. added 14.
Jabari Smith came within one rebound of a double-double, trying Jasper for the scoring lead with 15 points while adding nine rebounds and a team-high five assists.
Ole Miss (13-15, 4-11) scored the first nine points of the second half to pull within three but Smith stopped the run with a pair of free throws before Kessler’s post-up dunk restored Auburn’s lead to 47-40.
Devan Cambridge followed a missed jumped with a thunderous one-hand putback dunk, generating the loudest ovation of the night until walk-on Chandler Leopard’s 3-pointer in the final minute accounted for Auburn’s final points.
Jasper hit back-to-back 3-pointers down the stretch, giving Auburn its biggest lead of 16 points.
Green and Jasper made their first five 3-point attempts to help the Tigers take a 43-31 halftime lead.
Green’s 3-point barrage came early, putting the Tigers on top 15-11. Jasper’s second 3 increased Auburn’s lead to 30-21.
Green scored on a pick-and-roll with 3 seconds remaining to give Auburn a 12-point lead at the half. He led the Tigers in the half with 11 points.
Auburn travels to Tennessee Saturday to play the Volunteers at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN2.