AU Preparing for Saturday Matinee Vs. MSU

The Auburn basketball Tigers will take on Mississippi State in an early game on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--Looking to end a two-game losing streak and surpass last season's SEC victory total, the Auburn basketball team will play host to Mississippi State on Saturday.

Tipoff is set for 12:45 p.m. CST at Auburn Arena where the 11-11 Tigers, who are 3-8 in the SEC, will play their first rematch game of the season. The game will be carried on the SEC TV network.

Mississippi State, which is also 3-8 in the league, defeated Auburn 82-74 on Jan. 22nd in Starkville. The Bulldogs are 13-11 overall and come into the contest with a six-game losing streak with MSU's last victory coming against Auburn.

In their victory over the Tigers the Bulldogs got 18 points from Roquez Johnson, 17 from Colin Borchert and 14 from Fred Thomas. Guard Craig Sword, MSU's leading scorer at 13 points per game, scored six vs. the Tigers in the first matchup.

K.T. Harrell scored 24 for the Tigers in Starkville while Tajh Shamsid-Deen added 17 points while Asahun Dixon-Tatum (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Allen Payne (12 points, 10 rebounds) contributed double-doubles.

"We feel like we can win all of these games that we are playing, no matter where we are playing or who we are playing against, but we have come up short in some of those bigger games," said Payne.

"With Mississippi State the main thing we have been doing these past two days is going over all the mistakes we made," the senior forward added. "We feel like we should have won, could have won down there in Starkville. Really we are going over the mistakes we made in the zone to make sure we don't make them again tomorrow afternoon."

"We feel like every game is pivotal, but this one especially,"?Payne said. "It's at home, the majority of our games are at home down the stretch. I think we have a good chance of winning those, but I feel like this is an urgent situation where we have to have this win tomorrow."

Chris Denson has stepped up his performance level as a senior.

Chris Denson, the SEC's leading scorer at 22.3 points per contest, finished with just nine points in the first game vs. the Bulldogs. Denson has scored 25 points in each of the last three games, becoming the first Tiger to do that vs. SEC competition since Tay Waller did it vs. Arkansas (29), Ole Miss (29) and LSU (26) in 2010.

Denson's 21.9 points per game average in SEC play is the best through 11 games for an Auburn player since Wesley Person averaged 22.6 points per contest in 1993-94.


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