March 9, 2013

Bulldogs claim OT win over Auburn

STARKVILLE, Miss., - Many considered Mississippi State's matchup with Auburn on Saturday a throwaway game, simply a battle for last place in the Southeastern Conference.

But for Rick Ray and the Bulldogs it was a challenge.

The downtrodden and undermanned MSU squad were picked to finish last in the league and were often the butt of many jokes throughout the year. But one thing the Bulldogs did not do is finish fourteenth.

State defeated the Tigers 74-71 in overtime and secured the No. 13 seed in the SEC Tournament next week.

"To the outside world, this game means nothing," Ray said. "I told our guys, 'who cares in the outside world if we finish 13th or 14th? But it should mean something for you to go out and represent yourself and the university well by playing hard and trying to get a win'."

The Bulldogs finished the regular season at 4-14 in SEC play and 9-21 overall. Mississippi State will face No. 12 seed South Carolina Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the SEC Tournament.

"You get a chance to read some things and people were talking about we were the worst team ever in SEC history," Ray said. "I guess we can't be that if we finished 13th out of 14 (teams)."

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