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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.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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