February 28, 2009

Bench leads Auburn to big road win at MSU

Auburn's bench outscored Mississippi State's 36-0 en route to a 76-58 Tiger win to tie their largest margin of victory in Starkville Saturday. The Tigers swept the Bulldogs for the first time since 2001 and ended an eight game Humphrey Coliseum losing streak.

The win propelled Auburn (19-10, 8-6) into sole possession of the SEC's Western Division with two games to play.

Balanced scoring was in order for Auburn as all eight Tigers who played scored at least six points, led by Frankie Sullivan's 14 points off the bench and Lucas Hargrove and Rasheem Barrett scoing 12 apiece.

Brendon Knox, who came in averaging 2.3 points a game, tied a career-high and set an SEC- high with 10 points.

"I am real proud of my team," AU head coach Jeff Lebo said. "I knew whoever was going to be able to make shots in this basketball game was going to be the one who won. I thought the one thing that we did do was that we took the ball to the basket at key times. They didn't shoot the ball very well and that certainly was a big factor in the game.

"Defensively, we were awfully quick and got a lot of deflections and a lot of 50-50 balls. Our play off the bench was terrific. Lucas, Knox and Frankie Sullivan were the big difference in the game."

After falling behind 7-2, Auburn scored 13 straight points by holding Mississippi State (17-12, 7-7) scoreless for 8:17 to take a 15-7 lead on a Knox layup with 10:45 left in the half.

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