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: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20931250
Hinds19961410
Harrison17562303
Rankin13369277
Jackson13156243
Madison9950212
Lee9890170
Jones8310161
Forrest7542148
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6289144
Lamar613384
Lafayette6072117
Washington5291133
Bolivar4776129
Oktibbeha457197
Panola4458103
Pearl River4437141
Warren4299119
Marshall4286102
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4062132
Union404675
Neshoba4005176
Lincoln3886109
Hancock373385
Leflore3471124
Sunflower331589
Tate325384
Pike3215105
Scott311472
Yazoo305069
Alcorn299465
Itawamba297877
Copiah293965
Coahoma290479
Simpson289586
Tippah285168
Prentiss276659
Marion266279
Leake261773
Wayne261541
Grenada256484
Covington255280
Adams246982
Newton245761
George238547
Winston226081
Tishomingo222567
Jasper220048
Attala213673
Chickasaw205457
Holmes187172
Clay183254
Stone179733
Clarke177776
Tallahatchie176140
Calhoun165431
Yalobusha160136
Smith159334
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126534
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113832
Jefferson Davis105532
Tunica103225
Claiborne101330
Benton97525
Kemper95628
Humphreys94632
Franklin82923
Quitman78916
Choctaw73917
Wilkinson65128
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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