Mississippi State University suffered an excruciating 81-68 overtime defeat at the hands of the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday night.
"Well that was an excruciatingly tough loss. I've said that too many times this year," head coach Ben Howland said after the game.
Freshman standout Jabari Smith led the Tigers in scoring with 27, while veteran forward Tolu Smith headed the charge for MSU, pouring in 22 points of his own.
The loss came on senior night, where several MSU players were honored before tip-off for their contributions to the program.
Auburn led by as many as 18 points late in the first half before MSU crawled back in the game, stepping it up on the defensive side of the floor and dominating the rebounding battle. When the dust settled, MSU was the victor in that category by a staggering 50-32. Any time there's a difference as stark as that, teams expect to win the game. That was not the case on Wednesday.
"Tonight's game was a microcosm of Mississippi State's season. Bulldogs have had late leads against Auburn, Tennessee, at Kentucky, at Alabama and against Colorado State in Dallas. Didn't win any of those games," said CBS college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein following the contest.
MSU shot 0-for-13 from three-point range tonight. The Bulldogs have only made one three-pointer in the past 134:26 of game time. That's a little more than the last three contests.
MSU out-rebounded the Tigers 50 to 32, including 30 to 12 in the second half and overtime. MSU had two players with double-figure rebounds, Andersson Garcia (13) and Tolu Smith (12).
MSU lost the turnover battle 20 to 14, leading to Auburn winning the points-off-turnovers battle by nine.
Auburn clinches a share of the regular season SEC title, while MSU falls to tenth in the conference standings.
The Bulldogs close the regular season at Texas A&M on Saturday, broadcast on SEC Network at 7:30 p.m. Central time.