No. 21 Auburn beats Mississippi State, home winning streak at 28

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Jaylin Williams scored a season-high 21 points, Wendell Green Jr. added 17, and No. 21 Auburn beat Mississippi State 69-63 on Saturday night.

Williams scored 11 of Auburn’s first 13 points, including three 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game. The senior forward hit two more 3-pointers in the space of 1:27 early in the second half.

“I thought it was one of the best games I’ve seen (Williams) play,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “Everyone is going to point to the five 3s. But it was as tough and as physical as I’ve ever seen him play.

Auburn led by a whopping 13 points in the second half, but Mississippi State cut the lead to four with 2:34 remaining. Green then hit a deep 3-pointer before coming away with a steal and a layup on the next possession.

Auburn (14-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) has won 28 straight games inside Neville Arena. The Tigers have the second-longest home winning streak in Division I men’s basketball, behind Gonzaga.

Mississippi State (12-5, 1-4) was led by the inside presence of fifth-year senior Tolu Smith, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Leading hitter DJ Jeffries added 12 points and eight rebounds.

But the Bulldogs missed their 18 attempts from deep, while the host Tigers hit a season-high 11 3-pointers in the win. It was a familiar sentiment for Mississippi State, which didn’t hit a single 3-pointer in its loss to Auburn last March.

“I’m not sure a lot of college basketball games have been won when you’re 0 of 18 from the 3-point line, especially on the road,” the state head coach said. of Mississippi, Chris Jans. “But I think we took some really good shots. …we just didn’t knock them down. I hate to say this, but (disappeared) just gets contagious.


Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have one of the strongest defenses in the nation, but offense has been a major issue lately. Mississippi State hasn’t scored 70 or more points in a game since Dec. 3, a nine-game streak.

“I think we lost the game in the first half, to be honest with you,” Jans said. “I felt like we had so many empty goods. Two assists and 13 turnovers (in the first half) is not a good recipe for winning on the road.

Auburn: The Tigers have now won three straight SEC games, thanks in large part to resurgent play by their veterans. Williams and Flanigan are amid the best streaks of their four-year Auburn careers, while Green is averaging nearly 20 points per game during the winning streak.

“Sixty-nine points doesn’t seem like a lot,” Green said of Auburn’s offense. “But it’s a lot against Mississippi State.”


Auburn center Johni Broome entered Saturday after recording a double-double in each of his last four games, but he finished with six points and four rebounds Saturday night. Still, Pearl turned the end of Broome’s streak into a positive for his team.

“Johni Broome has been our most consistent player,” Pearl said. “He’s been incredibly consistent. Tonight he just didn’t have a great night – and yet we are still capable of winning. This team should feel really good about it.


After neither team attempted a single free throw in the first half on Saturday, the Bulldogs and Tigers combined for 41 attempts from the line in the second half.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a game like this,” Pearl said.

Mississippi State, which shot just 31.8 percent from the free throw line Wednesday night in a loss to Georgia, rebounded to 75 percent of its attempts Saturday night. Auburn hit 10 of 13 free throws, with Green making a perfect 7 for 7.


Mississippi State: Returns home to host Tennessee on Tuesday.

Auburn: Visit LSU on Wednesday.


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