Instant Analysis: Tigers down Mississippi State, wins third straight game

Auburn Basketball’s hot streak continued on Saturday with a key SEC win against Mississippi State.

The No. 22 Tigers, led by a monster effort from Jaylin Williams, earned its third straight win by defeating Mississippi State, 69-63 Saturday evening at Neville Arena.

Williams posted a season-best 21 points for the Tigers, which was kickstarted by a hot first half where he scored 13 of the team’s first 15 points of the contest. Allen Flanigan stepped up for Auburn in the absence of Chris Moore, who was not available to play due to the shoulder injury he suffered last Tuesday at Ole Miss by scoring 10 points and pulling down seven rebounds.

Williams put Auburn in the scoring column to begin the game with a three-pointer to put the Tigers ahead, 3-2 with 18:20 remaining in the half. He would also lead the team in points with six as Auburn took an 8-4 lead into the under-15 media timeout. The Tigers opened the game by shooting 42.9% through the first five minutes of the contest.

Auburn led by as many as 10 points in the first half before the Bulldogs began a run to cut the Tigers’ lead to one possession. State’s Tolu Smith nailed a three-pointer with 4:04 remaining in the half to trim Auburn’s lead to 25-22. Williams would score a second-chance bucket with 0:34 remaining to snap a scoreless streak that lasted over five-and-a-half minutes, then Flanigan hit a three-pointer as time expired to give Auburn the 30-22 halftime lead.

The first half ended with a bit of an oddity, as neither team paid a visit to the free throw line. Auburn committed five personal fouls to Mississippi State’s three. The Tigers connected on six three-pointers, while the Bulldogs held the advantage in the paint with 22.

Much like the first half, Auburn jumped out to a 13-point lead to open the second half. Williams scored six of the Tigers’ first 15 points of the half to give his team the 45-32 lead with 13:12 remaining in regulation.

Mississippi State closed the gap to as little as four points late in the game to cut Auburn’s lead to 57-53 with 2:34 remaining in the contest, but Wendell Green Jr. would rattle off nine straight points to give Auburn a more comfortable 66-57 lead with 1:03 to go.

Three players reached double figures in points. Outside of Williams’ 21-point night, Green finished with 17, and Flanigan scored 10. Johni Broome’s double-double streak concluded Saturday, he ended the game with six points and four rebounds. The Tigers shot 43.6% from the field, as opposed to the Bulldogs’ 37% effort. Auburn did not allow Mississippi State to connect on a three-pointer in the game, going 0-18.

Auburn travels to LSU Wednesday for its’ next SEC game. The Bayou Bengals lost their fourth straight game on Saturday, falling to No. 4 Alabama, 106-66 in Tuscaloosa. Tipoff from Baton Rouge is set for 6 p.m. CT.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire