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: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
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Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
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DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
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Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
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Wayne2803
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Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
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Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
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Pickens1215
Limestone1100
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