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: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 80°
Starkville
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 74°
Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather