MSU Breaks Losing Streak Against Auburn

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) _ Tang Hamilton's listless first-half performance got him a spot on the bench. His lively second-half play helped Mississippi State slam Auburn. Hamilton scored 15 of his 20 points in the second, many coming on rim-rattling dunks, as the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 85-74 Saturday. ``Tang started off the game not emotionally ready to play,'' Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. ``That is why he sat out the end of the first half. But to his credit he came back and really played well for us in the second half.'' Hamilton made nine of 11 shots. Antonio Jackson scored 21 points and Marckell Patterson had 20 for the Bulldogs (13-10, 4-8 Southeastern Conference), who snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Tigers (15-10, 5-7). ''(Jackson and Patterson) really found their rhythm tonight and made shots,'' Stansbury said. ``I hope they keep it up.'' Mississippi State shot 60 percent in the second half by converting turnovers into transition baskets. ``They a lot of buckets, too many easy buckets,'' Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said. Adam Harrington led Auburn with 15 points. Lincoln Glass scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Mississippi State started quickly in the second half scoring the first nine points _ seven by Jackson _ to take a 45-26 lead with about 17 minutes left. The Tigers slowly whittled the lead down and Scott Pohlman hit a 3-pointer with 6:30 left to cut Mississippi State's advantage to 59-58. Pohlman had 11 points. The Bulldogs responded with a 12-0 run _ highlighted by two dunks by Hamilton and a 3 by Jackson _ that upped the Bulldogs' lead to 71-58. Patterson's steal and slam with 2½ minutes left made the score 75-65. Auburn committed 19 turnovers. The Bulldogs had 11 steals and outrebounded the Tigers 41-28. ''``The difference in the game was a combination of our turnovers and their rebounds,'' Ellis said. Robert Jackson scored 14 points and was 7-for-9 from the field for Mississippi State. Marquis Daniels and Jamison Brewer each scored 10 points for Auburn.