Ravern Johnson, one of the most prolific three-point shooters in Mississippi State's history, has been in the middle of a rare slump from long range.
But instead of trying to shoot his way out of the problems, Johnson opted for a point-blank approach.
Scoring a team-high 20 points, including four dunks in the second half, Ravern Johnson led host Mississippi State to a dominating 85-66 victory over Auburn on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs (10-7, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had no trouble pushing past the struggling Tigers, jumping out to a 22-3 lead in the first 10 minutes. Renardo Sidney scored 15 points while Meade County's Riley Benock added 11.
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"I thought our team came out ready to play defensively," MSU Coach Rick Stansbury said. "We took some things from practice and carried them over into the game. It was another step in some right directions."
Mississippi State shot 62 percent from the field, punctuated by multiple alley-oops.
Johnson, who has averaged more than 20 points per game most of the season, bounced back after scoring just 14 in the previous two games combined. He hit eight of his 15 shots, and his acrobatic dunks energized the crowd of 6,794 at Humphrey Coliseum.
Tech routs North Carolina
Iman Shumpert matched his career high with 30 points and Georgia Tech held North Carolina to its fewest points in the Roy Williams era to beat the Tar Heels 78-58 in Atlanta.
Glen Rice also matched his career high with 24 points as Georgia Tech (8-8 overall, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended its three-game losing streak.
North Carolina's previous scoring low in Williams' eight seasons as coach was 60 points in a post-season NIT win over Alabama-Birmingham last season.
North Carolina's five-game winning streak ended as the Tar Heels (12-5, 2-1) committed 18 turnovers, leading to 25 points for Georgia Tech. North Carolina set a season low by making only 27.6 percent of its shots from the field (16 of 58).
Harrison Barnes and John Henson each had 11 points for North Carolina, which never led.
West Virginia 68, No. 8 Purdue 64: Kevin Jones scored 17 points and West Virginia used a late 18-6 run to hold off visiting Purdue. John Flowers added 15 points, Truck Bryant added 12 points for West Virginia.
St. John's 72, No. 9 Notre Dame 54: D.J. Kennedy and Malik Boothe both scored 14 points to help the Red Storm reverse the outcome of their game against the visiting Fighting Irish eight days ago.
Wright St. 69, Butler 64: N'Gai Evans scored a career-high 26 points and Wright State rallied in the final minutes to knock off visiting Butler. Shelvin Mack (Bryan Station) scored 12 points in the Bulldogs' loss.
Centre 77, Millsaps 51: Sayre graduate Alex Lloyd had 14 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in Centre's home win. Jeff Mullaney (DeSales) also had a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Byron Ellis (Russell County) hit five three-pointers to account for all 15 of his points.
No. 20 Arkansas 57, Alabama 53: C'eira Ricketts (Fairdale) scored 18 points and Sarah Watkins added 16 as Arkansas survived 28 turnovers and defeated host Alabama. Arkansas (15-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) never trailed, though Alabama tied the score on five occasions. Ricketts hit three free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the victory.
Middle Tennessee St. 57, Arkansas St. 52: Freshman Ebony Rowe (Paul Dunbar) scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season in the Lady Blue Raiders' road victory.
Davidson 71, Samford 62: Emily London (Lexington Christian) scored 16 points to go with six rebounds and three assists in the visiting Bulldogs' loss.
Western Ky. 73, Florida Atlantic 46: Both LaTeira Owens and Arnika Brown (Christian County) posted double-doubles in the Lady Toppers' rout in Bowling Green. Owens and Brown each scored 13 points, and they grabbed 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Centre 48, Millsaps 44: Chelsea Benham scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for host Centre.