There’s a lot to unpack from yesterday’s win over Mississippi State, especially when you factor in exactly what happened around the league. First, however, check out these highlights as Bryce Brown and company exacted revenge for the loss in Starkville earlier this year.
The Tigers got up big, and let a 19-point lead shrink down to just 4 points in the final two minutes, but Bryce Brown’s huge three from the corner provided enough of a cushion that the Bulldogs couldn’t keep up. Bryce was outstanding, scoring 24 points, hitting 5-8 three-pointers, and giving Auburn the spark it needed in the second half. After yesterday’s performance, Bryce now stands in fifth place for career three-pointers by SEC players. He’s got 339 total, and passed Chris Warren yesterday. Next up on the list is Allan Houston, who hit 346 in the early 1990s for Tennessee. Barring injury, Bryce is going to pass that mark with four games left in the season at a minimum. If Auburn can make a run in either the SEC or NCAA Tournaments, then he’s got a shot to hit second place. Shan Foster (367) and Pat Bradley (366) are next in line after Houston’s mark. Bryce needs 29 threes to hold second place all-time, and he’s averaged about 3.5 per game this year. That means Auburn needs about eight more games for him to pass Foster. However, if you remember the home finale last year against South Carolina, Bryce went 8-12 from downtown in the last game at Auburn Arena in 2018. Another performance like that could speed up the process.
There’s another story from the backcourt yesterday, and it concerns Jared Harper. Our floor general didn’t have a great offensive game in the pure scoring department, but he was able to distribute like no other, and he didn’t make any really bad plays. Harper finished the game with 10 points on just 2-10 shooting, but he had 9 assists and 0 turnovers.
Hang his jersey from the rafters already! @AuburnMBB https://t.co/Q4lvZj86fn— Son of Crow (@SonOfCrow2) March 2, 2019
With a career game on the offensive side, he also drew three charges on MSU guard Lamar Peters, who could’ve had a better day...
Let me get out my feelings let’s get it.— Lamar Peters (@headshotpeters_) March 3, 2019
The above tweet’s not nearly as sad as one he deleted, but it’s still indicative of the effect that Harper’s defense had on him all game long.
On the team front, Mississippi State’s a good win. This is a team that’s got some power, even without Nick Weatherspoon, and it’s given them a pretty good resume overall. They’ve got Q1 wins over Saint Mary’s, Dayton, Clemson, Wofford, Cincinnati, and Ole Miss. They’re dangerous, and Auburn got the victory that likely sealed a bid to the NCAA Tournament, no matter what happens the rest of the way. In the long run, it shows the continued success that Auburn’s riding.
Auburn has now won 22 SEC games in the last two seasons.— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) March 2, 2019
It won 22 SEC games in five seasons — 2011 to 2015.
And now, with that, we look at the final week of the regular season and what it means for Auburn. The Tigers are in a FIVE-WAY TIE FOR FOURTH PLACE IN THE SEC STANDINGS.
The race for the final double bye in the SEC Tournament is coming down to the wire with just two games remaining. pic.twitter.com/oiASzXGy9T— Scott Scroggins (@ScrogginsNoggin) March 3, 2019
Auburn must - MUST - beat Alabama on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa (it’s my birthday, please win), and then they’ll likely have a shot at home against Tennessee to push for that fourth spot. WIth the first game of next Saturday being the huge matchup with the Volunteers, Auburn’s going to have to win and then wait to see exactly what happens afterward. Let’s assume that Auburn goes 2-0 to finish at 11-7 in the SEC. They’d be in great position to slide up, since Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Florida all have tough games remaining. The problem is South Carolina, who gets Texas A&M and Georgia. Auburn pretty much needs the Gamecocks to stumble on Tuesday in College Station to have a chance at jumping them.
It’s going to be a wild final week, y’all. WILD. War Eagle!