MSU Outscores Tigers, Clinches SEC Hoops Title

The Tigers could not slow down hot-shooting Mississippi State, which outgunned Auburn 105-91 in Starkville.

Starkville, Miss.--Hot-shooting Mississippi State clinched a share of the SEC basketball title as the Bulldogs burned Auburn with long-range bombs on the way to outscoring the Tigers 105-91 at Humphrey Coliseum on Tuesday night.

The 105 points was the most given up by the Tigers this season. The previous high was 82 back on Dec. 20th in a loss at UNLV.

The 91 points was the second highest total for the Tigers this season behind 105 scored on Nov. 29th in a victory over Grambling in Huntsville.

The Bulldogs improved their SEC record to 13-3 and boosted their overall mark to 24-2. The Tigers are now 4-11 in the league and 13-13 overall going into the regular season finale at 3 p.m. on Saturday vs. visiting LSU.

Auburn shot 44.7 percent from the field, but that wasn't even close to the home team that was sizzling. The Bulldogs made 40-72 field goals for 55.6 percent overall. In the second half, the home team made 21-32 field goals for a 65.6 shooting percentage.

As expected, Auburn had a rebounding matchup problem with the big and physical Bulldogs who won the battle of the boards 47-35. Auburn played the game without power forward Marco Killingsworth, who was serving a one-game suspension for taking a swing at Tennessee's Brandon Crump last week.

Brandon Robinson led the Tigers on the boards with 11 on his way to a double-double. He also led the Tigers in scoring with 24 points and added three steals.

Brandon Robinson scored 24 points in 32 minutes of action and had six offensive rebounds and five defensive rebounds.

Five other Tigers scored in double figures. Lewis Monroe scored 16, Ian Young contributed 13, Ronny LeMelle and Quinnel Brown added 12 apiece and Dwayne Curtis had 10 points and a season-high nine rebounds.

MSU junior guard Winsome Frazier led all scorers with 26 points, a career high. Forward Shane Power added 17 points, guard Timmy Bowers scored 15 points and added eight assists while SEC Player of the Year candidate Lawrence Roberts added 12 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

Auburn led briefly at 9-7 on a basket by Curtis. However, the home team steadily built its lead into double figures thanks to hot three-point shooting from Frazier. The Mississippi State guard put the Bulldogs up 24-12 with his fifth trey of the night at the 12:16 mark.

Auburn cut the gap to 25-20 with 9:51 left in the half as Curtis hit both ends of a one-and-one. However, an 11-0 run that included Frazier's sixth trey stretched the lead to 36-20 at the 7:50 mark.

Ronny LeMelle played 27 minutes and scored 12 points, added five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Tigers cut the margin back under double figures at the 2:10 mark on a three-pointer from Brown to narrow the gap to 44-35. An Ian Young three-pointer cut the lead to seven, but State scored eight late uncontested points to stretch the halftime lead to 53-38. Frazier had 20 of MSU's points. The Bulldogs nailed 11-22 first half three-pointers.

In the second half the Tigers allowed the home to score seven uncontested points and Auburn never seriously threatened the rest of the way. The Tigers did manage to cut a 23-point lead to 14 at the 14:30 mark on a three-point basket by Monroe, but a 9-2 run by the Bulldogs ended that threat.

Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said Mississippi State deserved credit for an inspired performance on its Senior Night as a crowd of 10,458 enjoyed the action. Ellis said he doubts that anybody could have beaten the Bulldogs on Tuesday night the way they were shooting the basketball.

Aubrn turned the ball over 18 times in the fast-paced game, three less than MSU.

Neither team had a good night at the foul line. Auburn made 12-19 while MSU hit 11-17.

The Tigers are off until Saturday when they close the regular season at home vs. LSU.

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