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January 16, 2011Mississippi State shot 62 percent from the field and jumped on Auburn early to defeat the Tigers 85-66 behind 21 points from Ravern Johnson in Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday.
The Bulldogs had a 22-3 lead nine minutes into the game and were never threatened by the Tigers. The closest Auburn (7-10, 0-3 SEC) would get the rest of the way was 12 points in the second half.
"Offensively we are challenged," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee. "It"s a broken record. I keep saying it over and over again. We have trouble shooting it. We have trouble making layups. We have trouble throwing it into the post to get any production.
"You can't keep putting yourself behind the eight ball with a lack of offense against such good teams, but we are what we are. I thought our guys fought. They scrapped. We are just limited."
The Tigers fell behind by as much as 30-9 before ending the half down 41-22.
Mississippi State (10-7, 2-1 SEC) pushed its lead to 46-23 and then led 53-36 before Auburn scored five straight points behind a layup and 3-pointer both by Earnest Ross to close to within 53-41 with 13:50 remaining.
The Bulldogs grew their lead to as much as 68-43 with 7:55 left.
Earnest Ross led Auburn with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals, but went 5-of-17 from the field, 2-of-9 from 3-point range and 3-of-7 from the free throw line.
Kenny Gabriel added 14 points and seven boards while freshman Chris Denson scored a season-high 12 points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
Josh Wallace added 10 points, five assists and three steals. Renardo Sidney had 15 points and six rebounds for Mississippi State.
Auburn shot 35.8 percent from the field for the game, including 25.0 percent in the first half. The Tigers went 7-of-23 (.304) from 3-point range and 11-of-24 (.458) from the foul line. Mississippi State made 7-of-17 (.412) from behind the arc and 16-of-26 (.615) free throws. The Bulldogs had 20 assists on 31 baskets.
Auburn returns to action with two games in three days in Auburn Arena beginning on Thursday at 6 pm Central vs. Florida on ESPN. The Tigers play host to Alabama on Saturday at 5 pm Central on CSS.