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Auburn rallies to upend Mississippi State 76-68

Auburn rallies to upend Mississippi State 76-68

"We are trying to score with two guys on us, instead of stopping".

MSU saw an 11-point halftime lead and a 13-point lead 90 seconds after that evaporate as No. 22 Auburn rallied for a 76-68 victory. Mustapha Heron and Desean Murray each added 14 points and Jared Harper chipped in 12.

Just like it did Tuesday, Auburn (16-1, 4-0 SEC) had to overcome some early adversity in order to stay in the win column.

"At halftime we regrouped and were accountable", said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl.

"We have 14 games left - we could win them all or we could lose them all", Pearl said. "I thought in many ways (Murray) made some big plays". "It's the team that can get ready to play night in and night out".

The SEC has implemented a collaborative process for instant replay for the 2017-18 conference season. It's the first time the Tigers have won four consecutive SEC games at any point since a five-game streak in 2009.

Bryce Brown was at the heart of the effort, scoring 15 of his game-high 23 points after halftime.

Interestingly, Auburn shot just 35 percent from the floor Saturday - its worst shooting performance of the season.

The Tigers ran the lead to 11 at 65-54 with 6:04 left.

The Bulldogs rebuilt the lead to seven before another Brown 3-pointer started another Auburn push.

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Eight SEC teams rank in the top 50 of the January 12 NCAA RPI, including No. 6 Kentucky, No. 11 Auburn, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 26 Arkansas, No. 27 Missouri, No. 32 Texas A&M, No. 35 Florida and No. 43 Georgia. "He was feeling it".

The loss was MSU's third in a row after upsetting Arkansas to start Southeastern Conference play and dropped the Bulldogs to 13-4 and 1-3 in the league. Those three players, along with Brown, attempted 29 of Auburn's 32 free throws in the game and hit 24 of them. That pulled the Bulldogs within 67-65 with 2:58 left but they couldn't get any closer.

"That's a tough loss especially how well we played in the first half", MSU head coach Ben Howland said.

The Tigers built their advantage up to 11 before State cut things down to two following a four-point play by Quinndary Weatherspoon with under three minutes.

"We've just got to come out better in the second half and not be so nonchalant", Quinndary Weatherspoon said. "It was our best half of the year against a talented team".

A pair of Holman free throws ran the lead to 39-26 with 18:30 left. Knox finished with 17 points and Diallo and P.J. Washington each had 10 points. "We had an 11-point lead at halftime and to watch that dissipate was tough".

It was a battle in the paint for the whole 40 minutes, as Ado fought for every point and rebound in his double-double. Barnes improved his head coaching record to 647-353.

- Auburn on 10-0 run to take 57-51 lead.

Burnett - a transfer from the University of Miami - added six assists and two rebounds. The 6-foot-2 junior guard nailed five 3-point shots in the final 20 minutes of play that saw Auburn covert 43 percent from the field, 60 percent from 3-point range and 20 of 24 from the foul line.

Frank Booker scored 17 points and SC (11-6, 2-3) defeated Georgia (11-5, 2-3) 64-57 in Athens, Ga.


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