AUBURN, Ala. -- — Allen Flanigan scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half and Auburn pulled away late to beat Mississippi State 78-71 on Saturday and give Bruce Pearl his 600th coaching victory in the Tigers' season finale.
With no seniors and just two upperclassmen on the roster, Auburn didn’t stage a Senior Day, and the Tigers (13-14, 7-11 Southeastern Conference) announced in November that they were self-imposing a postseason ban as a result of a long-running NCAA investigation. But they found reason to celebrate after the win over the Bulldogs as Pearl did a little dance at center court, surrounded by his players.
Pearl is the 63rd coach in Division I history and the 21st active coach to reach 600 wins. Pearl's record over 26 years of coaching is 600-237. This is his seventh season at Auburn.
The lead went back and forth in the second half until Auburn grabbed the lead for good on a bucket by Jaylin Williams. The lead was seven after a Williams dunk with 47 seconds left. After a MSU basket, Auburn sank four straight free throws for a comfortable margin.
Auburn played its fourth straight game without freshman sensation Sharife Cooper, who sat out again with a sprained ankle. Cooper led the Tigers this season with a 20.2 points per game average in the 12 games he played.
Mississippi State (14-13, 8-10) finished the first half on a 10-2 run to lead 34-32 behind 13 points from Tolu Smith.
Auburn threw up 23 3-point attempts in the half and made six. The Tigers turned it around in the second half when they were 5 of 10 from the arc and shot 57% overall.
This game was originally supposed to be played on Feb. 16 but was postponed because of weather conditions.
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