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Mississippi State men’s basketball drops OT heartbreaker to No. 5 Auburn 81-68

Bulldogs fall to 17-13.

Austin Perryman/MSU Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team (17-13, 8-9 SEC) erased a 19-point first-half deficit, but the Bulldogs fell to No. 5 Auburn (26-4, 14-3 SEC) 81-68 in overtime Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.

With the win, the Tigers clinched at least a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season title. It marks the fourth SEC title for Auburn and the program’s first since the 2017-18 season.

Redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith led MSU with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while junior forward Iverson Molinar had 14 points and five assists. Graduate forward Garrison Brooks scored 10 points and brought down eight rebounds in his final home game.

The Bulldogs shot 27-for-67 (40.3%) and missed all 13 3-pointers. They managed to outrebound the Tigers 50-32, including 21 offensive rebounds. Sophomore forward Andersson Garcia finished with a career-high 13 rebounds and added eight points.

Auburn shot 28-for-61 (45.9%) from the floor and 10-for-26 (38.5%) on 3s. Freshman forward Jabari Smith led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard K.D. Johnson finished with 14 points, including 12 in overtime. Senior guard Zep Jasper had 11 points.

The Tigers pounced on the Bulldogs right out of the gate. Jasper made back-to-back 3-pointers with 10:33 remaining in the first half to give Auburn a 23-10 lead. The Tigers led by as many as 19 points at 39-20 before MSU ended the half on a 6-0 run to make it 40-28 at halftime.

The Bulldogs kept up the pace in the second half and used a 13-0 run to go ahead 54-49 with 7:20 to play. MSU led 56-51 before Auburn hit back-to-back 3s to go up 57-56. A layup by Tolu Smith gave MSU a 61-59 lead with three minutes to play, but Jabari Smith tied the game at 61-61.

In overtime, Brooks made a free throw to give MSU a 62-61 lead, but Johnson scored the next seven points for Auburn to give the Tigers a 68-62 lead.

Auburn closed out on a 10-2 run to secure an 81-68 victory.

The Bulldogs will close out the regular season at Texas A&M on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.