Recapping MSU’s 74-71 overtime win over Auburn at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.
• The buzz: MSU (9-21, 4-14 SEC) closed out the regular season with a second consecutive home win, and in the process avoided finishing last in the SEC. That distinction belongs to Auburn (9-22, 3-15). Colin Borchert‘s 3-pointer with 17 seconds left sent the game to overtime, and Craig Sword hit two free throws with 36 seconds left in OT to break a 71-71 tie. State had issues feeding the paint and hitting free throws, but it shot well from 3-point range and made some big defensive stands late.
• Turning point: Auburn led 69-68 when Fred Thomas drained a 3-pointer with 2:15 left in overtime.
• Auburn leaders: Chris Denson 24 points (9-18 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 6-8 FTs), 9 rebounds; Rob Chubb 18 points (7-12 FGs, 4-4 FTs), 7 rebounds; Frankie Sullivan 12 points (4-14 FGs, 2-8 3FGs, 2-3 FTs).
• MSU leaders: Borchert 20 points (7-11 FGs, 4-6 3FGs, 2-4 FTs), 13 rebounds, 2 blocks; Sword 19 points (7-17 FGs, 0-1 3FGs, 5-9 FTs), 6 assists, 3 turnovers; Thomas 10 points (3-8 FGs, 2-5 3FGs, 2-2 FTs), 4 rebounds; Roquez Johnson 10 points (3-10 FGs, 4-8 FTs), 5 rebounds.
• MVP: Borchert had perhaps his best all-around performance as a Bulldog, recording his first career double-double.
• Key stats: MSU shot 40.3 percent from the field, including 47.1 percent (8 of 17) from 3-point range. … Auburn shot 41.2 percent overall, 17.6 percent (3 of 17) from downtown. … MSU was 16 of 29 (55.2 percent) at the free throw line but made 4 of 6 in overtime.
• Quotable: “I told our guys that, I said, who cares if we finish in 13th or we finish in 14th to the outside world? But it should mean something to you to just go out and represent yourself and the university well by playing hard and trying to get wins.” – MSU coach Rick Ray
• Bottom line: This is a pleasant end to what’s been a rough regular season for MSU, which has won two of its last three games. It found other ways to score when Gavin Ware struggled (he had three points on 1-of-6 shooting) and made clutch shots at the end.
• Up next: MSU, as the No. 13 seed, opens the SEC Tournament at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against No. 12 South Carolina. The teams split the regular-season series.