AUBURN, Ala. – Earnest Ross scored 21 points and Auburn used tenacious defense to overcome a 19-point second-half deficit and pull out its first Southeastern Conference home win of the season, 65-62 over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
The Tigers (9-15, 2-8), who trailed 51-32 with 11:25 to go, reeled off a 17-0 run over 3:53 to take a 62-58 lead on Josh Wallace's three-point play with 26 seconds to go.
Auburn used three free throws to offset two Dee Bost layups over the final 26 seconds, with Ross' two free throws with 3.5 seconds to go providing the final margin.
Bost's desperation halfcourt heave at the buzzer missed, giving Auburn its second conference win and sending Mississippi State (13-11, 5-5) to its first loss in three games.
The Tigers' comeback ranks among the biggest in program history, up there with a 22-point rally against Louisville in 1995 and a 19-pointer against LSU in 1999.
Kenny Gabriel added 18 points for Auburn.
Bost scored 22 for the Bulldogs, making 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. Mississippi State was 9 for 24 overall on 3-pointers, but was only 1 for 9 after the break.
Renardo Sidney added nine points and 13 rebounds, but he and Kodi Augustus, who also finished with nine points, both fouled out down the stretch.
A jumper by Sidney keyed an 11-0 Bulldogs run in the first half, giving them a 24-13 lead with 5:46 left in the half. They extended their lead to 19 points, 51-32, on a dunk by Augustus with 11:24 to go in the game.
Auburn's run started after another Augustus basket, one which he punctuated with a yell that drew a technical foul.
Ross hit two free throws, Rob Chubb made a hook shot, Gabriel converted a three-point play, then coaxed a steal and dunk on the Bulldogs' next possession to put Auburn on its way to the win.
Both Chubb and Mississippi State's Ravern Johnson returned from two-game suspensions Saturday.
Chubb, whose suspension stemmed from a Jan. 30 arrest on charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, attempting to elude a police officer and resisting arrest, scored six points in 16 minutes.
Johnson, who was suspended for sending "inappropriate tweets" after a loss to Alabama, as well as violating a class attendance policy, scored two points on 1-of-6 shooting in 19 minutes.