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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: 338079

Reported Deaths: 7523
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23409440
DeSoto23069280
Harrison20064328
Rankin15119290
Jackson14743251
Madison10806227
Lee10568179
Jones8864169
Forrest8408159
Lauderdale7684243
Lowndes6917151
Lamar683789
Lafayette6502124
Washington5551139
Pearl River5060150
Bolivar4923134
Oktibbeha484798
Panola4739112
Warren4690127
Marshall4670106
Pontotoc442873
Monroe4293137
Union429179
Neshoba4232181
Hancock417788
Lincoln4148116
Pike3605113
Leflore3587125
Tate351488
Alcorn346474
Sunflower344994
Adams338488
Scott336676
Yazoo335673
Simpson319290
Copiah319068
Itawamba312480
Coahoma311585
Tippah300568
Prentiss295063
Covington287183
Marion281780
Leake281575
Wayne274643
Grenada267588
George266251
Newton258964
Tishomingo238070
Winston236284
Jasper227548
Attala223373
Stone219437
Chickasaw217560
Holmes197674
Clay194654
Clarke184480
Tallahatchie182742
Calhoun179432
Smith177535
Yalobusha170240
Walthall144448
Lawrence140026
Greene137634
Amite135643
Noxubee134235
Perry132438
Montgomery131544
Carroll125431
Webster119132
Jefferson Davis114234
Tunica113227
Benton105925
Claiborne104831
Kemper101429
Humphreys99833
Franklin86723
Quitman84319
Choctaw81819
Wilkinson76532
Jefferson70428
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 574737

Reported Deaths: 11492
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson839571589
Mobile46611857
Madison36938532
Tuscaloosa26841465
Shelby26769255
Montgomery25853624
Baldwin24213326
Lee16897181
Calhoun15210332
Morgan14990289
Etowah14721369
Marshall12855235
Houston11661292
Elmore10727217
St. Clair10587250
Limestone10535158
Cullman10323204
Lauderdale10044253
DeKalb9335191
Talladega8797187
Walker7659286
Autauga7456114
Jackson7295117
Blount7233139
Colbert6614142
Coffee6117131
Dale5393117
Russell467742
Chilton4666117
Covington4623125
Franklin447281
Tallapoosa4420157
Escambia425282
Chambers3880125
Dallas3707163
Clarke366462
Marion3413106
Pike326979
Lawrence3211101
Winston293972
Bibb282965
Geneva274283
Marengo259067
Barbour245161
Pickens239662
Butler237672
Hale232378
Fayette225064
Henry206645
Randolph196144
Monroe195041
Cherokee194548
Washington179339
Macon168352
Crenshaw165058
Clay163659
Cleburne159945
Lamar149738
Lowndes144854
Wilcox129831
Bullock126042
Conecuh119530
Coosa116729
Perry109928
Sumter108732
Greene98336
Choctaw63925
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Thursday will be another very hot and very humid day across Mississippi and Alabama. Many areas will be well above 100 degrees with the heat index, some even as high as 120 degrees in the Delta of Mississippi.
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