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Preview: Rebels (12-20) at Tigers (26-8)
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Date: January 26, 2013 8:00 PM EDT

Mississippi has one of the highest-scoring offenses in the nation, but it hasn't been as prolific lately.

Facing an Auburn team that is struggling defensively could help it get back on track.

The 23rd-ranked Rebels try to move to 6-0 in SEC play for the first time Saturday night when the conference's top two scorers meet at Auburn.

Mississippi (16-2, 5-0) has won eight straight games and owns its best record through 18 contests since the 1936-37 season. The Rebels have managed to keep pace with No. 8 Florida atop the SEC standings and stand one win away from their best record through 19 games and first 6-0 conference start in team history.


They should have a solid opportunity to make it happen against an Auburn team that has allowed an average of 78.7 points during a three-game losing streak.

Mississippi is fifth in the nation at 81.3 points per game, but has averaged just 69.0 in its last two. The Rebels matched a season lows in points and shot a season-worst 36.7 percent in a 62-56 victory over Tennessee on Thursday.

"It's a pretty tough group, resilient is a good word," coach Andy Kennedy said. "It's a group that believes we're supposed to win, and they're finding ways."

Marshall Henderson hopes to carry over some momentum after scoring 24 of his game-high 28 points in the last 20 minutes. He hit all six of his 3-pointers after halftime.

"All the sudden he got combustible and started knocking down shots,' Kennedy said.

While Henderson leads the SEC in scoring (19.4 ppg) and ranks among Division I leaders in 3-pointers made per game (3.9), he averaged 29.0 points in two conference road wins.

Murphy Holloway has also played a key role in Mississippi's success as the only player the conference averaging a double-double with 15.4 points and a league-best 10.4 rebounds per game. The senior forward has also recorded four straight double-doubles against the Tigers, averaging 14.8 points and 13.4 rebounds.

Teammate Nick Williams scored in double figures in all three meetings last season, as the Rebels won twice. He had a game-high 22 in a 68-54 win in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

Much of Mississippi's scoring has stemmed from its ability to get to the line as it leads the SEC in free throws made (322) and attempted (467). The Rebels, though, are looking for better efficiency at the stripe after connecting on 33 of 56 (58.9 percent) in their last two games.

There's a strong likelihood they'll get the chance against the Tigers (8-10, 2-3), who have allowed the third-most free-throw attempts (390) in the conference.

Auburn senior Frankie Sullivan ranks second in the SEC in scoring at 17.2 per game, but he's totaled just 22 points while shooting 8 for 26 (30.8 percent) from the field in his last two home games.

The Tigers have averaged 57.0 points on 37.8 percent shooting in their last two games overall. They had scored 75.8 points per game while shooting 46.8 percent over their previous five.

"To win, you have to score the basketball and we aren't doing that efficiently right now," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said.

The Tigers have won four of five home games in the series, including a 69-68 double-overtime victory last January.

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