STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mississippi State saw a 13-point lead slip away in the second half of a 76-68 loss to No. 22 Auburn Saturday at the Humphrey Coliseum.
Auburn improved to 16-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play, while MSU fell to 13-4 and 1-3. The Bulldogs lost at home for the first time this season in 13 games. Overall, it was a 13-game home winning streak which ended – matching second-longest in program history.
In the opening half, Auburn was held to 24 points – its lowest offensive point total in a half this season. The Bulldogs led 35-24 at halftime. In the second half, Auburn shot 60 percent from 3-point range and battled back from a 13-point deficit with 18:30 left in the contest.
“That’s a tough loss considering how well we played in the first half,” MSU coach Ben Howland said. “It was the best first half we played this season, and it was against a talented team. They hit some really big 3-point shots. To start the second half, we were a little more stagnant on offense.”
Quinndary Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Aric Holman added 11 points, while Abdul Ado, Nick Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters each added 10 points.
Ado collected his third double-double of the season with a game-high 11 rebounds. Ado and Holman each had two blocked shots as the Bulldogs collected eight as a team.
The Bulldogs started strong on the defensive end of the floor.
Auburn was held to one field goal over the first five-plus minutes. A layup by Quinndary Weatherspoon ran the MSU lead to 12-4. A 7-0 run would push the lead to 12 at 20-8.
A 3-pointer by Lamar Peters pushed the lead to 28-17 with 5:17 left in the half.
Overall, Auburn was held to 26.7 percent shooting from the field in the first half as the Bulldogs held that 35-24 lead at halftime.
A pair of Holman free throws ran the lead to 39-26 with 18:30 left.
A pair of 3-point baskets highlighted an 8-0 run to pull the Tigers back within 41-39. Auburn would then grab its first lead of the second half with 10:00 left in the contest.
The Tigers ran the lead to 11 at 65-54 with 6:04 left. The Bulldogs were later back within two at 67-65 after a four-point play by Quinndary Weatherspoon.
For the contest, MSU hit 24 of 59 shots from the field (40.7 percent), 5 of 23 shots from 3-point range (21.7 percent) and 15 of 22 shots from the foul line (68.2 percent). Auburn hit 21 of 60 shots from the field (35.0 percent), 9 of 21 shots from 3-point range (42.9 percent) and 25 of 32 shots from the foul line (78.1 percent).
MSU held a 42-39 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 10 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Tigers had eight assists and seven turnovers.
Auburn received 23 points form Bryce Brown, 14 points from Mustapha Heron, 14 points from Desean Murray and 12 points from Jared Harper. Murray had a team-high nine rebounds for the Tigers.
MSU will play host to Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The contest will be shown nationally on the SEC Network.
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