Auburn Basketball: Tigers Beat Mississippi State For First SEC Tournament Win Since 2009


The Auburn basketball team hadn’t won a game in the SEC Tournament since 2009, but the Tigers defeated Mississippi State Wednesday to advance to Round 2.

The 2014-15 Auburn basketball season isn’t over just yet.

K.T. Harrell was his usual SEC-leading scorer self with 19 points, but other than Harrell the Tigers (13-19) relied on a trio of unheralded players and 56.5% shooting in the second half Wednesday to beat Mississippi State 74-68 in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Nashville.

“I’ve been talking about how proud I am of my team despite the fact that we lost a lot of games down the stretch, because I felt like they didn’t quit,” Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said after the game. “They continued to believe in themselves and me and what we’re trying to do. I think you could see evidence in the result and evidence in the effort.”

Mar 11, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard

Craig Sword

(32) dribbles the ball around Auburn Tigers guard KT Harrell (1) during the first half of the first round of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers overcame a 36-34 halftime deficit with a strong start to the second half, building a 56-45 lead with 11:38 left in the game. However, it took less than three minutes for Mississippi State to storm back with a 12-0 run to take a 61-59 lead.

But Harrell, Alex Thompson, K.C. Ross-Miller and Devin Waddell wouldn’t let the Bulldogs pull away.

Thompson had the hot hand and scored a career high 16 points off the bench, ten of them coming in the second half. The sophomore was 6-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the three-point line, one of which gave the Tigers a 64-63 lead they would not relinquish. He added three rebounds, a steal and a block in a career-high 23 minutes.

Ross-Miller led all scorers with 21 points and scored the last five points for the Tigers to seal the victory. The senior guard also led the Tigers with seven rebounds and three steals. He also added an assist.

Auburn – the league’s worst rebounding team – out rebounded Mississippi State 34-27, even without Cinmeon Bowers for long stretches of the second half.

Bowers struggled all evening. He was 0-for-6 from the floor, 5-for-10 from the free throw line and was responsible for four turnovers in 24 minutes. The junior did have six rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.

With Bowers out of sync, Thompson hot, and Trayvon Reed not leaving the bench for the third straight game for unspecified reasons, Pearl called upon 6-foot-5 junior walk-on Devin Waddell for his defense down the stretch. Waddell answered with four rebounds, a block, an assist and four points in a season-high 16 minutes.

Antoine Mason, the team’s second leading scorer this season, had four points off the bench in his first game back following a three-game absence. 

The victory snapped a career-long six game losing streak for head coach Bruce Pearl and gave the Tigers their first win in the SEC Tournament since 2009. Auburn must now set their sights on Texas A&M, who they will play at 2:30PM Thursday in the second round.

SEC Tournament Downloadable Bracket

Next: Auburn Football: Will Muschamp, New Auburn Defense 101

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