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Men's Basketball
AUBURN, AL - MARCH 02 - during the game between the #11 Auburn Tigers and the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Neville Arena in Auburn, AL on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Photo by Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Auburn bounces back at home, taking down the Bulldogs 78-63

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- Auburn returns home after a tough road
loss to 4th-ranked Tennessee on Wednesday night with a signature win against
the Mississippi State bulldogs 78-63. Bruce Pearl once again shifted around the
starting lineup from the previous matchup earlier in the week with Chad Baker-Mazara
making his third consecutive start and Jaylin Williams returning to the
starting lineup for Auburn. Auburn was looking to even the season series
against the Bulldogs, after losing to them earlier in the season.

The Tigers came out with a defensive plan, forcing the Bulldogs
to miss 17 of its first 19 shots, while forcing 10 first half turnovers. Auburn’s
gameplan seemed to be working in the first period, with the halftime score
being 39-22 in favor of Auburn. The Tigers did not trail in this game for a
single second. However, coming out of halftime the Bulldogs made their adjustments
and brought the game within seven points with 12:21 left to play in the second
period. Mississippi State freshman guard Josh Hubbard scored 23 of his teams 63
points, 20 of which was in the second period, with Tolu Smith backing him up scoring
14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Auburn fifth-year senior Jaylin Williams also set the new Auburn
program record, with his 135th career game. Jaylin Williams scored 10 points in
his return to Auburn’s starting lineup, going eight for eight at the free throw
line. Johni Broome continued to do what he has been doing all year, scoring 17
points and securing six rebounds.

Junior guard Denver Jones also had a great outing, scoring
15 points and going three for five from the three-point line. This was Auburn’s
third straight game shooting 40% or better from three-point land, first time
the Tigers have done that since 2017. Fifth-year senior Lior Berman went down
late in the first period with a knee injury. He did not return to the game for
the Tigers. At the time of this writing, it is unknown how severe the injury

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl stated, “We all thought that
this was a great shooting team, we all did. And my emphasis to the guys right
now is that it is March, and it is time to make shots, and not take shots. The
guys have been putting in work, and that is what it takes to win.”

Looking ahead, Auburn has two more games in the regular season. The Tigers’ travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on the Missouri Tigers on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 8 p.m. CT. Following that, the Tigers have one final home
game in Neville Arena against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday, Mar. 9 at 5:30
p.m. CT. The Tigers need to not only win out, but they also need some help if
they want to secure the SEC regular season title.