Stop me if you’ve heard this before... Auburn went on the road, did a few things well, did a few other things even worse, and eventually fell to a home underdog.
Senior Bulldog guard Quinndary Weatherspoon shoot 6-9 from the field and added another 11 points off free throws to lead the game with 27 points. Bryce and Chuma had strong games for Auburn (18 and 16 points, respectively, with 4 rebounds each), but the Tigers turned the ball over a total of 19 times, limiting the number of shots the offense could take.
Things were sloppy from the start at Humphery Coliseum (I assume, I missed the beginning with the LSU/Mizzou game going into overtime), with Auburn turning the ball over 10 times in the first half. Auburn got out-Auburned, allowing Mississippi State to shoot 22 three-pointers to Auburn’s 11. Both teams shot 45%, but the volume was difference. Auburn was down as much as 13 points at one point in the first half, but a nice run by Jared Harper brought the halftime score to a 2 point Auburn deficit.
Oh, and Malik did another Malik thing in the first half.
Of course, this also got Malik a technical and his third foul for, I don’t know, let’s call it targeting. The rim. He didn’t get the same break State point guard Lamar Peters got when he spiked the ball to the moon, but c’est la vie.
After I made some cookies during halftime to lighten the mood, the second half saw Auburn jump out to a nice lead quickly... a little two quickly. Auburn stretched the lead out to 55-48 at 16:44, but Weatherspoon knocked down two quick threes to bring it back to a one point game. It would stay a one or two possession game for most of the next 10 game minutes, but after J’von McCormick got knocked around a bit near the rim with no foul call, Bruce got a technical foul. Again, no benefit of the doubt for ole Brucie. The wheels fell off at this point near the 7 minute mark, and Auburn would never be within striking distance the rest of the game.
The loss knocks Auburn to 13-5 and 2-4 in conference. Unless this team can win 10 or 11 of their last 12 games, a repeat conference title looks to be out of the picture. The offense hasn’t been that bad recently, but the defense, already iffy before, has been atrocious without Austin Wiley to soak up plays in the paint. Auburn has it’s next three games at home, and four of their next five. It’s going to need to rack up wins in those games to regain some confidence.
War Eagle, always.