McCormick's 28 keep No. 8 Auburn perfect with 80-68 win

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Auburn center Austin Wiley (50) blocks a shot attempt by Mississippi State guard Tyson Carter (23) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

STARKVILLE, MS – No. 8 Auburn kicked off its Southeastern Conference slate with another impressive performance.

J'Von McCormick led the way.

McCormick scored a career-high 28 points, and the Tigers beat Mississippi State 80-68 on Saturday.

Auburn (13-0, 1-0) placed five players in double figures. Samir Doughty had 15 points, and Isaac Okoro finished with 14. Danjel Purifoy scored 11 points, and Austin Wiley had 10 points and five blocked shots.

McCormick went 9 for 17 from the field and 8 for 11 at the line. The senior guard also had four assists and two steals.

“We knew coming in they would be more physical,” McCormick said. “It's SEC play and the atmosphere was going to change. But we had to keep shooting and our first (3-pointer) that went in, it gave us a spark. It was big for us to start off 1-0 and we knew we'd face a challenge at Mississippi State.”

Mississippi State (9-4, 0-1) shot 34% (23 for 68) from the field in its second loss in three games. It also committed 14 turnovers.

Reggie Perry had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs in his 16th career double-double. Nick Weatherspoon scored 18 points, and Robert Woodard had 12 points and 12 boards. Abdul Ado finished with a career-high nine blocked shots and 11 rebounds.