Hoops: Auburn 76, MSU 58

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Mississippi State’s slide continues. It’s now lost three straight and five of its last six. The overriding theme of the postgame can be summed up with this quote from MSU coach Rick Stansbury: “Auburn was a much better basketball team than us. They played like it meant more to them than it did us.” Indeed, Auburn (19-10, 8-6 SEC) now holds sole possession of second place in the SEC Western Division behind overall SEC champ LSU, while State (17-12, 7-7) drops to third.

Four Tigers scored in double digits, led by Frankie Sullivan‘s 14 points. Tay Waller, who had 32 last time these teams met, was held to 7. For State, Jarvis Varnado scored 14, Dee Bost and Phil Turner had 12 each, and Barry Stewart scored 11.

Auburn led by 17 points at halftime and by as many as 20 in the second half. And the stat of the day: Auburn’s bench outscored MSU’s bench 36-0. Some quotes from various coaches and players, starting with Stansbury:

• On Auburn coach Jeff Lebo: “Jeff did a much better job getting his team prepared to play this game than I did getting our team prepared to play this game. They played that way. Auburn played with more passion, more toughness, more togetherness.”

• On bench play: “I have no answer for that. They got 36 from their bench. I’ve just got no answer why. The biggest thing was our passion and our energy, which would lead to more baskets everywhere.”

• On the effort: “We’ve got to find a way to keep playing with some energy and toughness. We’ve got no margin for error. … When you don’t play hard, you’ve got no chance.”

Now, Varnado:

• “We had a good week of practice, I think everybody was pumped and ready to go for this game, but we just started off lackadaisical, and it carried over to the second half.”

• On looking ahead: “I know some of them are probably thinking the season’s over with, but we’ve got two more games left, and then we’ve got the SEC Tournament. And who knows. Look what happened to Georgia last year.”

• “I feel like we gave up toward the end. ”

Turner:

• On the shooting woes: “I’m never too much at a loss for words, but I don’t know what to say, what to tell you.”

• On forging ahead: “The people on the inside, the team and the coaches, we’re the only people that believe we can win anyway. Everybody else just hopes we can win.”

Stewart:

• “As a whole, we came out flat. I don’t understand why. I’ve got no answer for that. At this point in the season, you’ve to have some urgency about you.”

From Auburn, Lebo:

• On Brendon Knox (10 points) vs. Varnado: “The one thing with Varnado as a shot-blocker, youve got to go right at him. Brendon’s awkward, when he gets it in there, I think that helped him more than anything. When he got it against Varnado, he didn’t know where it was coming from. And he was aggressive when he went at him.”

• On winning six of its last seven: “You’ve played your way into a situation where now every game’s meaningful.”

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8 Responses to “Hoops: Auburn 76, MSU 58”

  1. mathistondawg Says:

    Read Turner’s comment. Now, what is he saying? It sounds to me like he said the crowd that showed up today didn’t believe state could beat auburn, they just hoped for it. As far as his comment on the shooting woes, I got several ideas, but will hold my tounge (keystrokes).

  2. spaceghost1 Says:

    dogs are now squarely on the nit bubble, on the outside looking in, imo. this team has no desire. maybe they’re just out of gas. what’s that other tourney? cbi?

  3. s084swd Says:

    This has just been a tough transitional season for State. I know everyone’s pretty frustrated about it all. Obviously losing Hansbrough, Gordon, and Rhodes after last year has been too much to overcome. I remember Gordon’s freshman year also was pretty tough. You live and you learn. We still have two games to go before the SEC tournament. If we can finish out ok, we should get in the NIT. That’s not bad for a team that is this young. The future looks bright if this team can just stay together. Both LSU and Auburn are teams made up of mostly upperclassmen. Most of our guys aren’t used to losing and will see brighter days soon. Also, as the season goes on, I’m beginning to become less and less of a fan of the four guard lineup. It just doesn’t seem to be working. Our perimeter shooting just isn’t consistent and good enough. We need more of a inside game like last year’s team had.

    We have to also acknowledge Auburn. They’ve got a solid team that’s playing focused good ball. They’ve won like six out of their last seven games. They’ve beat us twice and are just better than us this year.

    I don’t mean to make excuses. We shouldn’t make excuses. But it is what it is.

  4. bigdraws Says:

    I’m with you swd. We were due for a down year. Especially with a team this young. We’ve desperatly got to find a big man though.

  5. imabulldog Says:

    Well whats the most disappointing fact is that we were 4-1 in conference, now our record and season is not even worth talking about.

    A team that looked as if they were gonna do great things, returned back to the team that got beat by San Diego and Texas Tech-if that wasn’t telling enough.

    We stink, and we are young, but I’d say its a lack of heart and focus during this bad stretch, more than anything else.

    Definitely driving down to Oxford to see us get whipped, because we are just as much a middle of the road team than they are. Except their guys actually play with some heart and energy at times. Sorry to give Rebs any kind of props over our Dawgs, but I think we all know how that one will unfold.

    Another fact, midway thru the yr, we were a tourney team and Auburn wasn’t. Now the roles are reversed. I see Auby as a team that could sneak in to the tourney and do some damage, as well as hurting some teams in Tampa.

    We’ll see

  6. imabulldog Says:

    i meant to say not driving down to Oxford, man that sounded bad.

    And Draws, we def need a Big Man

  7. leeearl Says:

    I agree with everything so and ima are saying, I didn’t expect much from us this year and pleased we had some good games and beat KY at Rupp and swept Arky, I think we peaked early and just couldn’t keep it up and couldn’t get over some really tough losses, it happens….

    I think we have a big man who wants to play and is dieing to get the ball and his name is Elgin Baily….at this point, give me JV, Elgin, Dee, PT, and Ravern as my starters….maybe we’ll get some rebounds which will create 2nd chance points, and take some pressure off JV inside on the defense side, …..just random thoughts ….have a great weekend!

  8. 2thdoc Says:

    Brad, what’s up with Nichols St forfeiting game 3 today?

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