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February 13, 2010

Mississippi State tops Tigers in overtime

Dee Bost scored a career-high 32 points on seven made 3-pointers as Mississippi State outscored Auburn 11-1 in overtime to claim an 85-75 victory in Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.

Tay Waller led the Tigers with 21 points on 5-of-11 3-pointers along with seven rebounds while Lucas Hargrove had his second straight double-double with 20 and 10 rebounds.

DeWayne Reed sent the game into overtime with a layup with 15 seconds left in regulation over Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado, the nation's second leading shot blocker in history, tying the game at 74-74. The Bulldogs had just taken a 74-72 lead on a conventional 3-point play dunk by Romero Osby that fouled out Brendon Knox with 30 seconds left.

Bost was defended well on a potential game-winning layup that was rebounded by Frankie Sullivan with 2.1 seconds remaining. After a time out, Auburn, which had to go the full length of the court, inbounded the ball to Sullivan on the run just beyond State's 3-point arc, but he was met with contact while taking a desperation shot. That was as close as Auburn (12-13, 3-7) would get the rest of the way.

Bost, who had come into the game in a 5-of-34 3-point shooting slump, was on fire as he made 7-of-12 shots from behind the arc to go along with nine rebounds and four assists.

"I have a very disappointed group in there," said Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. "I thought we certainly played well enough to win the game. Again, finishing out the game, we didn't do what we needed to do. There were some tough breaks I thought at the end that didn't go our way and hurt us.

"Bost was the difference tonight. Reed really struggled defensively and offensively being 5-of-21. He guarded Bost there, and that was pretty much the difference in the game.

Held scoreless for almost the first 16 minutes of the second half after having 12 first half points, Waller scored nine straight points for Auburn as he brought the Tigers back from a 63-61 deficit to a 70-67 lead on a beautiful alley-oop layup from Sullivan with 2:05 to play.

"They played great defense, you have to give it to them," said Sullivan, who had 11 points and eight rebounds. "We didn't execute our sets like we are supposed to. We took some tough shots. We always give ourselves great opportunities to win games, but we don't make the plays to win."

Since taking its largest lead at 31-17 with nine minutes left in the first half, Auburn only scored 15 minutes in almost the next 18 minutes as it fell behind 51-46 with 11:21 remaining in the game.

State tied it at 42 for the first time since Auburn was ahead 15-13, and the Bulldogs regained the lead at 45-44 on Bost's fifth 3-pointer of the game. Knox put the Tigers back in front at 55-54 on a layup, and it was very tight the rest of the way with seven lead changes and four ties.

Auburn used a 14-0 run to take a 23-13 lead and then Waller's third of his four first half 3s gave the Tigers their largest lead at 31-17 with nine minutes to play, capping an 18-4 run. Mississippi State responded with 10 straight points aided by a pair of Bost back-to-back threes to close to within 31-27 before the Tigers went into the locker room ahead 38-35.

Both teams combined to shoot 67 3-pointers as Auburn went 9-of-33 (.273) while Mississippi State was 11-of-34 (.324). The Bulldogs outshot the Tigers 41.4 percent to 36.7 percent from the field as Auburn went 29-of-79 and State 29-of-70. Auburn was 8-fo12 from the free throw line and Mississippi State was 16-of-23. The Tigers outrebounded the Bulldogs 47-46 and both teams only had eight turnovers apiece.

In overtime, the Tigers missed all nine field goal attempts, including four from 3-point range, while the Bulldogs were 3-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from the foul line. Auburn suffered its second consecutive road overtime loss as the Tigers lost another heartbreaker at Arkansas, 82-79, last Saturday. With the win, Mississippi State (18-7, 6-4) moved into a first place tie with Arkansas in the SEC*s Western Division.

Varnado finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks while Barry Stewart added 12 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Bulldogs. Reed finished with 13 points on 5-of-21 shooting for Auburn. Auburn plays its third road game out of four at Florida in the O'Connell Center in Gainesville on Thursday at 6 pm Central on ESPN.


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