By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
Waller’s hot streak
– Auburn guard Tay Waller had hit 21 of his 31 3-point attempts going into Wednesday’s game, and he didn’t do much to hurt that percentage against the Bulldogs, going 6 for 11 from the arc to lead Auburn with 22 points.
Waller’s skill is only part of what’s leading him through this late run, MSU guard Barry Stewart said. It was Stewart’s task to chase Waller around most of the night.
“It’s not only hard because he can shoot it, it was hard because he has great teammates. They were looking to get him open. When you have a shooter like him who can shoot lights out, and you have people working for him and screening for him, it makes it tough.”
The 22 points mark Waller’s least productive outing in his last four games. He had 29, 29 and 26 against Arkansas, Ole Miss and LSU leading into MSU.
“He’s been unbelievable shooting the basketball, and we’ll continue to ride him as long as we can,” Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said.
Only the Vols matter
– MSU coach Rick Stansbury had NCAA tournament speculation to offer in his postgame comments.
A win would have given the Bulldogs 10 with a home game remaining.
Perhaps they’d have been playing for NCAA seeding – instead of fightng to get in – against No. 16 Tennessee on Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum.
“This game has nothing to do with the NCAA tournament,” Stansbury said. “We’ve got to go home and beat Tennessee. That’s the only thing that matters.”
Turn out the lights, please
– Closing out opposing arenas is nothing new for Mississippi State.
With Wednesday’s closing of Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, the Bulldogs have been the final guest at three SEC gyms. They played the last game against South Carolina at Carolina Coliseum in 2002 and, many years prior, the last game against Kentucky at Memorial Coliseum. State is 2-1 in those games, beating Auburn and South Carolina and losing 93-93 in overtime to Kentucky.
– “He’s the only defensive presence in the paint. Once we neutralized that, it was easy for Knox to score.” – Auburn guard Tay Waller on the importance of getting Jarvis Varnado out of the game with his fourth foul with 6:40 left.