USA TODAY Sports
Rick Ray opened and closed SEC play with wins in his first season. Regardless of what happened in between, that gives MSU basketball a bright and exciting future.
Battle of the SEC Worst in 2013? That's what many tagged the Mississippi State (8-21, 3-14) and Auburn (9-22, 3-15) game on Senior Day Saturday.
"Just finding a way to gut out a win and to go in the locker room to see so many people happy. You read some things were they say we are the worst team in SEC history, so I guess we can't be that if we finished 13th out of 14th." -Rick Ray
Non-baseball fans and MSU honored senior and former walk-on Baxter Price before the Tiger tangle. Afterwards, both teams put on a fairly equal game. They were tied at half, tied at the end of regulation, and MSU won by three. The game was tied 14 times and lead changed 17 times. Again, fairly equal game.
Forward and former EMCC standout Colin Borchert put on a stellar performance with 20 points, 13 defensive rebounds (career-high), two blocks, and a magnificent 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation to propel MSU to overtime. He recorded his first-career double-double and MSU's fourth double-double of the year (Ware with two, Lewis with one). Guard Craig Sword was also solid with 19 points, six assists, five rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Roquez Johnson and Fred Thomas (who finished the regular season two steals behind Dee Bost for most steals as an MSU freshman) both had key moments in the win, both with ten points.
"I was used to getting double-doubles at EMCC. I have been struggling to get offensive and defensive rebounds. Today I got a lot of defensive rebounds. That is one thing I have been trying to focus on. Just going out there and being tough; go box someone out and go get the rebound. I always box out, but some time I just don't have the initiative to go get the rebound. So, that is what me and my coaches have been talking about. I just needed a big game on the boards and I gave it to them." -Colin Borchert
For Auburn, Chris Denson came off the bench for the Tigers and finished with a game-high 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals in 35 minutes. Center Rob Chubb had 18 points and Frankie Sullivan with 12.
"We tried stopping him going left. Every time he went left he would finish. Coach Ray told us to cut his left hand off and we did. He couldn't score after that." -Craig Sword on guarding Denson
With the win, MSU trimmed the Auburn series lead to 72-66, and have now won four-striaght against the Tigers in Starkville. The Bulldogs finished the season with a 7-7 record at home, and improved to 1-1 on the year in overtime.
State, the No. 13 seed, now prepares for the SEC Tournament Wednesday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. They play in Game 1 of the opening round against South Carolina, the No. 12 seed, at 6:30 CT. USC and MSU actually split their season series. The SEC Network and ESPN3 will cover the contest. The winner faces bubble team Tennessee in the second round Thursday at 2:30 CT. View the entire 2013 SEC Tournament schedule here.
Speaking of bubble squads, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Alabama, and even Kentucky all need good SECT showings to convince the NCAA Tournament committee next Sunday.
Oh, yeah. 2010... Kentucky. The last time MSU basketball visited the Bridgestone Arena, this happened...
(via Michael Kearney)
Remember what Ray Finkle's mother said about Dan Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective? Well... We will never forgive you, Demarcus. Never.