Mississippi State University (21-8, 9-7 SEC) attempted a late-game comeback, but it was not enough as they fell five points short of defeating Auburn University (20-9, 9-7 SEC) 80-75 on Saturday. The loss snapped the Bulldogs five-game winning streak.
The game began to look rough early on. Auburn scored three consecutive three-pointers to take an 11-2 lead in the opening 3:32 minutes of the first half. MSU bounced back, however, bringing the game back within two with offensive efforts from guards Tyson Carter and Quinndary Weatherspoon, making it 18-16 with 8:00 left in the first half.
Auburn scored 10 of the next 11 points to go up by double digits, a run which began after Auburn forward Chuma Okeke scored a layup. Okeke would also end the run by laying the ball in, making the score 28-17 at the 3:12 mark in the first half.
MSU would enter halftime down 33-25. Their woes would continue after they returned from the locker room, as a layup from Auburn guard Bryce Brown put the Bulldogs in a 10-point hole. Auburn would go on to extend the lead to as many as 19 points later in the second half.
MSU began to make their efforts to come back in to the game when Tyson Carter drained a deep three-pointer, along with two more to cut into the margin. After a pair of free throws from Weatherspoon, the Bulldogs would be down by four, 71-67. Howland said he was proud of his team for fighting to come back.
"I’m really proud of our team in terms of the fight,” Howland said. “To be down 19 and to make a run to come back where we had a chance, literally in the last minute.”
Carter attempted a shot clock midrange shot, but it ended up coming short on the next possession. The Tigers dropped a corner three to stretch their lead to seven. Auburn ended up hitting all four of their free throws in the last 24 seconds of the game to pull away and ice the game.
MSU will travel to play the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers at 8 p.m. Tuesday. This will be the Bulldogs' last road game of the season. SEC Network will broadcast the game.