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McCowan leads Mississippi State to SEC title

The Bulldogs beat the Gamecocks 68-64 to wrap up the SEC regular season title.

Posted: Mar 3, 2019 6:26 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer couldn't have been more ready to face South Carolina, and he showed his passion when his players needed it.

Schaefer loudly protested a third-quarter foul on Bulldogs guard Andra Espinoza-Hunter, coming up the court and drawing a technical with his team trailing 39-34.

"I had had enough," Schaefer said he recalled thinking. "I'm ready to fight. Who's in with me?"

Mississippi State's players showed they shared Schaefer's fire. Teaira McCowan had 18 points and 17 rebounds to help the fifth-ranked Bulldogs rally from 10 points down and hold on through a wild finish to defeat No. 14 South Carolina 68-64 and win the Southeastern Conference title on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (27-2, 15-1 SEC) were up 11 points with under seven minutes left before the Gamecocks rallied to 66-64 on Tyasha Harris' steal and breakaway layup with 42.7 seconds to go. But it was Mississippi State that made the big plays after that.

Anriel Howard got the rebound after teammate Jordan Danberry missed two free throws on the next possession. Danberry got the board when Espinoza-Hunter missed a short jumper with 10 seconds left.

And the 6-foot-7 McCowan picked up Danberry's missed foul shot with 2 seconds to go to secure the win for Mississippi State.

McCowan was not much of a factor in the first two quarters with just four points and two fouls. Schaefer put her back in right before the half.

"He told me to be smart and do what an All-American does," she said.

McCowan responded with her 24th double-double this season. She finished with 44 points and 41 rebounds in Mississippi State's regular-season sweep of the Gamecocks (21-8, 14-2).

The Bulldogs had wrapped up the No. 1 seed for next week's league tournament with Kentucky's win over Georgia.

South Carolina led 39-32 at halftime, holding Mississippi State to its lowest-scoring first half this season.

But behind McCowan, the Bulldogs charged in front with a 17-4 start to the third quarter. McCowan, the likely SEC player of the year, had eight points during the stretch and eventually wore down the smaller Gamecocks -- who no longer have 6-5 A'ja Wilson to match up with and slow down McCowan.

Howard had 13 points and 16 rebounds while Espinoza-Hunter had 17 points for Mississippi State, who beat the Gamecocks twice in a season for the first time since 2009.

Harris led the Gamecocks with 20 points while Mikiah Herbert Harrigan had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

"We came back at the end," Harris said. "But it wasn't enough."

Mississippi State entered with a share of its second straight SEC championship. It also had a recent history of falling to the Gamecocks in some major moments, including a 67-55 loss to South Carolina in the 2017 national championship game.

And the Bulldogs struggled to keep up in the first two quarters as South Carolina used a 25-10 run during a 10-minute stretch to open a 32-22 lead.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
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