It didn’t look good for Auburn in the first four minutes of their game Saturday night against Mississippi State as the Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead. Then Kenny Gabriel got a basket and Allen Payne hit a 3-pointer.
When Adrian Forbes dunked the ball to close the gap to 16-14, the fans knew their Tigers would make a game of it. And Auburn (14-12) rebounded from three previous losses to defeat the No.23 Bulldogs 65-55 in the Auburn Arena.
It was two weeks to the day that the Tigers lost a heartbreaker in Starkville 91-88. But this night belonged to the Orange and Blue.
A Chris Denson’s lay-up with 6:30 to go before the half, put the Tigers up for good and they led at the break 35-24.
It was the first time for Auburn to defeat a ranked opponent since March 7, 2009 when the Tigers beat No. 11 LSU 69-53.
The Tigers held the Bulldogs (19-8) to 35 percent shooting while hitting 47 percent themselves, including 53.6 percent in the first half.
Coach Barbee said after the game that the week off was big in getting the team ready for this win, “We were struggling mentally and physically. The week off came at a good time for us.”
There’s little time to celebrate though. Auburn has to travel to Florida on Tuesday to play the second best team in the league.
But for now there’s hope.