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Tip-Off Countdown: #36 Auburn 80 Mississippi State 75

After this win, you could put a LOCK next to Auburn’s name in regards to the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

March 2, 2019 - Auburn Arena

Following an exhilarating win at Georgia, the Tigers came home to play Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It was an opportunity to avenge a loss at the end of January in Starkville and bolster the tournament resume.

In somewhat routine fashion, the Tigers got on the board with a 3... courtesy of Anfernee McLemore. Auburn would also get 3s from Malik Dunbar and Samir Doughty in the game’s first 4 minutes and the Tigers led 11-2 early.

McLemore’s 2nd 3 of the game put Auburn ahead 18-9 but the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to force a rare early 1st timeout from Bruce as Miss State trailed by just 2.

The 4 12 minute scoring drought would end courtesy of a 3-point play from Chuma Okeke. And then the 3 balls started falling for Bryce Brown towards the tail end of the half. Brown’s 1st 3 put Auburn up 28-19 and his second gave Auburn it’s first double digit lead of the game, 31-20. It was 33-25 Auburn at halftime.

Bryce would make the first basket of the 2nd half and Anfernee McLemore’s 3rd 3 of the game put Auburn ahead 40-28. Auburn’s defense would continue to force turnovers and Bryce Brown’s 3 following a steal from Jared Harper gave Auburn a 49-33 lead with 13:31 to go.

Auburn continued to hold a double digit lead most of the second half. Miss State cut it to 54-43 before 3s from Samir Doughty and Danjel Purifoy on back to back possessions gave Auburn a 60-43 lead with 9 minutes to go. A 4th 3 from Anfernee McLemore would give Auburn its largest lead of the afternoon at 69-50 with 6:20 to go.

And then Auburn went cold and this game got much more interesting than it should have....

Over the next 4 minutes, Mississippi State would go on a 17-2 run to cut Auburn’s lead to 71-67 with 2:30 to go. The Bulldogs had a chance to cut it down to 1 or 2 but were unable to capitalize. With a little over a minute to go and the shot clock winding down, that dude Bryce Brown would not be denied hitting this dagger 3 to put Auburn back up 7.

Auburn would hang on from there earning a much needed Q1 win. Bryce Brown had 16 points in the 2nd half and led Auburn with 24 points on the afternoon. He shot 5-8 from 3 as the team was 13-30 overall. Anfernee McLemore hit 4 3s and had 14 points. Chuma Okeke had 11 points and 7 rebounds with 10 points and 9 assists coming from Jared Harper. But more importantly, he had 0 turnovers and took 3 charges on Lamar Peters frustrating one of the Bulldogs best players.

The win was the Tigers 20th of the season meaning consecutive seasons of 20 wins which hasn’t happened too often in these parts. On top of every game falling the way Auburn needed it and suddenly the Tigers were right back in the talk of a Top 4 seed in the SEC Tournament after being around the 8-9 mark going into the week.

Here are the highlights!

Tomorrow, we break out the brooms once again.

War Eagle!