Mississippi State holds South Carolina at bay 79-76

South Carolina made it interesting in the final seconds. But Mississippi State held on long enough to get a crucial Southeastern Conference victory.

Posted: Feb 20, 2020 1:08 AM
Updated: Feb 20, 2020 9:22 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- South Carolina made it interesting in the final seconds. But Mississippi State held on long enough to get a crucial Southeastern Conference victory.

Nick Weatherspoon had 18 points and D.J. Stewart added 16 as Mississippi State held off South Carolina 79-76 on Wednesday.

Abdul Ado had 14 points for the Bulldogs (17-9 overall, 8-5 in SEC, while Reggie Perry had 10 points and 10 rebounds. It was Perry's 14th double-double of the season and the 23rd of his career.

Maik Kotsar's 24 points led South Carolina (16-10, 8-5), while Jermaine Couisnard scored 17. A.J. Lawson also finished in double digits with 10 points for the Gamecocks.

"It was a big win for us," said Weatherspoon. "South Carolina is one of the hottest teams in the SEC but towards the end we got to play better."

After trailing by 11 points with under four minutes remaining, South Carolina had a furious comeback attempt in the closing seconds. Jair Bolden made a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left to close the Gamecocks'deficit to 78-77. Mississippi State's Robert Woodard made one free throw with 6 seconds left and South Carolina did not get a potential game-tying shot off.

"I am so thankful to the good Lord and very blessed with this group of kids," said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland. "These guys are tremendous fighters and so tough. That was one of the toughest teams we played in America and South Carolina was so hot coming in here. It is hard to simulate them in practice because of how they play.

"But it was a heck of a win for us against the hottest team in the league. Abdul was tremendous the whole game and Nick did a good job handling the pressure. Nick made some big plays tonight."

Mississippi State shot 50% for the game and made 5 of 12 beyond the arc. The Bulldogs held a noticeable advantage at the free-throw line and made 28 of 36. South Carolina shot 48% from thje floor and made 14 of 19 from the charity stripe.

The Bulldogs held a 32-29 rebounding edge but had 22 turnovers, including six in the final 1:31. South Carolina had 15 turnovers and made just 4 of 17 from 3-point territory.

Mississippi State held the lead throughout the second half and led 71-60 at the last media timeout. South Carolina exploded on a 15-5 run in the final 3:50 of action to make things interesting.

"Credit Mississippi State," said South Carolina head coach Frank Martin. "They just took the lead and we scrapped at the end to give ourselves a chance. But Mississippi State got the ball wherever they wanted to and we didn't get defensive stops.

"We got out-shot by twice as many free throws for the second game in a row and that's the song and dance for us this year. We scrapped and our players are not going to give in, but our fundamentals, defensively, were not good."

The opening minutes proved to be a back-and-forth affair that featured five lead changes and three ties. Mississippi State took a 17-12 lead following a Robert Woodard 3-pointer at the 10:09 mark of the first half. After the Bulldogs stretched the lead to 21-14, Kotsar responded with six straight points to cut the deficit to one.

Mississippi State answered with a 9-2 run, sparked by a Carter 3-pointer, and led 30-22 with 4:36 remaining in the half. The Bulldog led 36-27 at halftime, which was their largest lead of the half.

Mississippi State shot 44% in the first half and made 11 of 13 at the free-throw line. The Gamecocks shot 46% and missed 6 of 7 attempts beyond the arc. The Bulldogs held a 17-13 rebounding advantage at the half and both teams combined for 19 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: The Gamecocks had won eight of their last ten games entering Wednesday's game and are now 4-13 all-time at Mississippi State.

Mississippi State: Since losing by 25 points to rival Ole Miss last week, Mississippi State has responded with two straight wins to remain in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

UP NEXT

South Carolina: The Gamecocks begin a two-game homestand against LSU on Saturday.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs return to the road and travel to Texas A&M on Saturday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17120175
Hinds16207322
Harrison13353193
Rankin10689211
Jackson10303183
Lee8796141
Madison8232162
Jones6288110
Forrest5949119
Lauderdale5847180
Lowndes5355116
Lafayette494292
Lamar484165
Washington4777123
Bolivar3966108
Oktibbeha392480
Panola368378
Pontotoc362853
Monroe3533105
Warren348498
Union343060
Marshall341665
Neshoba3370152
Pearl River327899
Leflore3002105
Lincoln297085
Sunflower282669
Tate270862
Hancock266559
Alcorn263253
Itawamba262459
Pike262077
Scott246245
Prentiss245052
Yazoo244355
Copiah240849
Tippah240450
Simpson234867
Leake230564
Coahoma230054
Grenada217770
Covington211371
Marion210672
Adams204670
Winston200164
Wayne199630
George199038
Attala193559
Newton191342
Tishomingo184459
Chickasaw183644
Jasper169735
Holmes168567
Clay159033
Stone142320
Tallahatchie140134
Clarke138660
Calhoun135721
Smith120123
Yalobusha116534
Walthall111836
Noxubee110322
Greene109729
Montgomery109434
Carroll104221
Lawrence102417
Perry101631
Amite97725
Webster92224
Tunica86321
Claiborne86125
Jefferson Davis84125
Humphreys82924
Benton81523
Kemper77120
Quitman6888
Franklin66415
Choctaw60313
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53819
Sharkey42717
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 422598

Reported Deaths: 6120
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62039921
Mobile30225548
Madison27052186
Tuscaloosa20728267
Montgomery18978305
Shelby18504114
Baldwin16251182
Lee12465101
Morgan12233113
Etowah11735168
Calhoun11122200
Marshall10191107
Houston8598148
Cullman8023105
Limestone800274
Elmore7836101
DeKalb768397
Lauderdale754683
St. Clair7535120
Talladega6166108
Walker5897174
Jackson580341
Colbert532073
Blount530483
Autauga518455
Coffee441056
Dale396181
Franklin366248
Chilton336165
Russell330310
Covington327268
Escambia316842
Dallas303196
Chambers282769
Clarke281433
Tallapoosa2616107
Pike248729
Marion245650
Lawrence243647
Winston226635
Bibb215147
Geneva201435
Marengo199029
Pickens196531
Hale175842
Barbour172936
Butler169658
Fayette168226
Cherokee160330
Henry153621
Monroe145217
Randolph139835
Washington137626
Clay126145
Crenshaw118744
Lamar118019
Cleburne117423
Macon114735
Lowndes110335
Wilcox103121
Bullock99028
Perry97419
Conecuh94420
Sumter89026
Greene76023
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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