STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics/WTVA) - Quinndary Weatherspoon’s 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds lifted Mississippi State to a 59-56 win against Jacksonville State Sunday at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs played a second-straight game without Lamar Peters, but still MSU rallied from an 8-point deficit over the final 14:41. The inside game lifted the Bulldogs on an afternoon with four made 3-pointers.
“Three close games in a row for us,” MSU coach Ben Howland said. “Very happy that we won. Jacksonville State will again be in the NCAA Tournament, like they were last year. The key for us was playing good defense. We missed some wide-open shots.
“It hurt to not have E.J. Datcher (bone bruise). We did a good job of never giving up when we were down eight points.”
Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with 13 points, followed by Nick Weatherspoon with 12 points and Aric Holman with 11 points. Abdul Ado had team highs with 8 rebounds and t3 blocked shots.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. The Bulldogs held the Gamecocks scoreless for the first four minutes but only built a 4-0 lead. A 9-0 run by the guests ran the lead to 13-8 for the Gamecocks.
Jacksonville State ran the lead to seven points at 19-12, 21-14 and 23-16. A layup by Ado brought the Bulldogs within four at 27-23.
The Bulldogs trailed 29-25 at halftime.
“Tyson Carter and Eli Wright were a combined 1-for-12 from the field but they did a lot of things to help us win,” Howland said. “It was good to have (Xavian Stapleton) back in the lineup. He scored seven points and gave us some good minutes.”
Jacksonville State still held an 8-point lead at 43-35 with 13:14 left in the contest.
A 3-pointer by Carter got the comeback going. Still, the Bulldogs did not grab a second-half lead until Nick Weatherspoon scored a rebound, making it 50-49 with 6:35 left in the game.
Holman scored to cap a 6-0 run giving the Bulldogs a 52-49 lead. The lead was short-lived with the Gamecocks coming back to tie at 54 and 56.
For the contest, MSU hit 25 of 56 shots from the field (44.6 percent), 4 of 18 shots from 3-point range (22.2 percent) and 5 of 13 shots from the foul line (38.5 percent). Jacksonville State hit 22 of 57 shots from the field (38.6 percent), 6 of 19 shots from 3-point range (31.6 percent) and 6 of 6 shots from the foul line (100 percent).
MSU held a 37-36 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had nine assists and 12 turnovers, while the Gamecocks had 10 assists and 10 turnovers.
Jacksonville State (4-2) received a double-double from Norbertas Giga (15 points, 10 rebounds) and 10 points from Jason Burnell.
MSU will play host to North Dakota State at 6 p.m. Thursday on the SEC Network.