Men's basketball lights up the scoreboard in win against Mississippi State
The Auburn men's basketball team matched a season high for points Saturday with a 92-82 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The scoring guard duo of Chris Denson and KT Harrell led all scorers in points, with Denson scoring 30 and Harrell adding 26. It was the most the two have combined to score in a game this season.
"That dynamic duo stuff, I take that to the heart," Denson said. "With us trying to be number one, I strive for that. We're like best friends."
Denson, the SEC's leading scorer, was 6-of-11 from the field but made 13-of-14 free throws in the victory. The senior is averaging 26.6 points per game in the Tigers' last six contests.
Auburn (12-11, 4-8 SEC) fell behind and trailed for portions of the first half, but the Tigers closed the final five minutes of the half on a 15-2 run and led 40-25 at the break.
The Tigers held a double digit lead for the majority of the second half, with the Bulldogs (13-12, 3-9 SEC) never managing to cut the deficit to any less than eight points.
Referees whistled the two teams for 59 fouls and they combined to shoot 77 total free throws in the game.
Auburn has shot 70 percent from the charity stripe so far this season but went 37-of-41 on Saturday afternoon.
"I'm proud of our guys for stepping up and making 90 percent from the free throw line," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee.
It was a bounce back game for Harrell, who was coming off the worst performance of his Auburn career after scoring just seven points on 2-of-15 shooting against Kentucky earlier in the week.
"I'm a really confident person so I know I had a bad game," Harrell said. "It's not about one game defining you, it's about how you bounce back that defines you. I came in focused and ready to play."
The junior has made just seven of his last 34 three point attempts but said it is important to remain confident through the tough times.
"I'm a shooter and shooters go through slumps sometimes, but the important thing is to remain confident and keep shooting," Harrell said. "That's what the team needs me to do."
In support of Denson and Harrell, senior forward Allen Payne had 14 points and four assists while freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen contributed 10 points.
"This has got to be a team that is more than just Chris Denson and KT Harrell," Barbee said. "There are some other guys that we have to get playing better too."
Auburn will look to make it two victories in a row Wednesday when the Tigers travel to Gainesville, Fla. to take on the No. 3 Florida Gators (22-2, 11-0 SEC). Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.