AUBURN, Ala. (MSU Athletics) – An 18-3 run late in the first half proved decisive as Mississippi State dropped a 92-82 decision to Auburn in a Southeastern Conference men’s basketball played Saturday at the Auburn Arena.
With the win, Auburn improved to 12-11 overall and 4-8 in league play. MSU dropped its seventh straight, while falling to 13-12 and 3-9. Auburn has won five straight in the series on its home floor.
MSU started strong. The Bulldogs pieced together and 11-0 run and built a 19-12 lead with two Trivante Bloodman free throws with 11:12 left in the first half. Auburn quickly regrouped and pulled even at 22-22 on a KT Harrell layup with 7:38 left in the half.
The Bulldogs managed only one field goal over the final 12:06 of the first half. Auburn completed the half with an 18-3 run to take a 40-25 lead at the half.
“We simply had too many turnovers in the first half to compete,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “We allowed 25 points off turnovers in the first half and we had 25 total points as a team. A lot of our mistakes were not forced either. We simply turned the ball over and gave them too many opportunities.”
Auburn continued its strong offensive play to start the second half. A 3-pointer by Tahj Shamsid-Deen ran the Tigers advantage to a game-best 21 points at 56-35 with 16:24 left in the contest.
Behind a career day from Bloodman, the Bulldogs rallied. MSU closed within nine points at 64-55 on a 3-pointer by Jacoby Davis with 8:31 left in the contest.
Auburn scored the game’s next five points and MSU got no closer than eight points on two occasions the rest of the way.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 24 of 50 shots from the field (48.0 percent), 5 of 17 shots from 3-point range (29.4 percent) and 29 of 36 shots from the foul line (80.6 percent). The Tigers hit 26 of 51 shots from the field (51.0 percent), 3 of 13 shots from 3-point range (23.1 percent) and 37 of 41 shots from the foul line (90.2 percent).
Auburn held a 31-26 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 19 assists and 21 turnovers, while the Tigers had 13 assists and 18 turnovers.
Bloodman paced MSU with a career-high 18 points. Gavin Ware added 15 points, while Roquez Johnson added 14 points and IJ Ready added 12 points.
Chris Denson paced Auburn with 30 points – two shy off his season high. Harrell added 26 points. Also were in double figures for AU were Allen Payne with 14 points and Shamsid-Deen added 10 points.
MSU remains on the road for a 7 p.m. start Wednesday at LSU. The game will be televised regionally by SEC TV.