Mississippi State ends 22-game road losing streak, 78-71
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Gavin Ware scored 16 points and added a season-high 17 rebounds as Mississippi State ended a 22-game road losing streak with a 78-71 win over Auburn on Wednesday night.
I.J. Ready scored 18 points and contributed eight rebounds to help the Bulldogs (9-9, 2-3 SEC) pick up their second consecutive conference win.
''I know (the streak) is talked about by the media and the other people, but we just don't talk about it,'' Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray said. ''We talk about a game-by-game basis because to be honest a lot of these guys in the program don't know what the losing streak is.''
The Bulldogs suffocated Auburn (10-8, 2-3 SEC) for much of the first half, limiting the Tigers to 27 percent shooting and forcing 12 turnovers.
''We showed the guys some tape from the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks game,'' Ray said. ''We talked about how important it is to do your assignment. It's the most important thing.''
Auburn did not hit a field goal over the final 8:18 of the half, allowing the Bulldogs to lead at the half 31-22 following a 14-1 run. Fred Thomas and Demetrius Houston each contributed six points off the bench.
''(Houston) really has a lot of athletic ability and he's really good in the open court,'' Ray said. ''I was glad for him to have some success out there.''
The Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and led by as many as 18.
But Auburn scrapped back, cutting the lead to two with less than two minutes to play. However, the Bulldogs went 8 of 10 from the free-throw line over the final two minutes to close out the win.
Cinmeon Bowers posted his SEC-leading 12th double-double of the season with 16 points and 17 rebounds. KT Harrell scored 22 points and made four 3-pointers.
''(Ware) was able to match Cinmeon Bowers,'' Ray said. ''I kind of teased him telling him `You got 17 rebounds, but you gave up 17 rebounds, so you really only got zero.'''
Mississippi State: The victory was the first road win for the Bulldogs in over two years. Their last came in a 72-61 win at Georgia on Jan. 12, 2013.
Auburn: The loss ended a seven-game home win streak for the Tigers and is just the second home loss of the Bruce Pearl era.
IN THE STANDS
Former NBA All-Star Anthony Mason was on hand to watch his son, Auburn guard Antoine Mason, play against the Bulldogs. Mason played 13 seasons in the NBA, being named an All-Star in 2001 and Sixth Man of the Year in 1995.
Mississippi State returns home to play Georgia on Saturday.
Auburn will travel to play Alabama on Saturday.