STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Craig Sword scored 19 points and hit two crucial free throws in overtime to lead Mississippi State to a 74-71 win over Auburn on Saturday.
Mississippi State (9-21, 4-14 Southeastern Conference) trailed by three late in regulation, but Colin Borchert hit a deep 3-pointer to force overtime. Borchert finished with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and had 13 rebounds.Mississippi State was 25-of-62 (40 percent) shooting and hit 8 of 17 3-pointers. The Bulldogs overcame 17 turnovers and won the rebounding battle 46-42.Sword was 7 of 17 from the field with six assists, two blocks and two steals. Roquez Johnson and Fred Thomas both chipped in 10 points.The win moves Mississippi State into the 13th seed in the upcoming SEC tournament, just ahead of Auburn. The Bulldogs will play South Carolina on Wednesday night for the third time this season.Auburn (9-22, 3-15) had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Chris Denson couldn't get his runner to fall.Auburn was 28 of 68 (41 percent) from the field and hit only 3 of 17 3-pointers. The Tigers turned the ball over 14 times.In overtime, a 3-pointer by Thomas put Mississippi State up 71-69, but a goaltending call on the other end tied the game again. After a foul, Sword hit both free throws and Johnson added another for the win.Mississippi State led early, but a 17-4 run by Auburn midway through the first half gave the Tigers a 22-16 lead. The teams were tied 24-24 at the half. Auburn opened up a six-point lead early in the second half but was never able to hold it for more than a few minutes. There were 17 lead changes in the game and 14 ties.Denson led Auburn with 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Rob Chubb added 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and had seven rebounds.