Perry's 21 points lead Mississippi State over South Carolina 76-61

The Bulldogs (20-7, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) have won four straight games and are now in prime position to break an NCAA Tournament drought that's lasted a decade.

Posted: Feb 23, 2019 9:05 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Reggie Perry fought through two defenders in the final minute to finish a layup and draw the foul, flexing his right bicep as he strolled toward the free throw line for his extra shot.

After weeks of up-and-down play, Mississippi State is finally playing consistent basketball. This time it was Perry's 21 points -- including 17 in the second half -- that helped spark Mississippi State to a 76-61 comeback victory over South Carolina on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (20-7, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) have won four straight games and are now in prime position to break an NCAA Tournament drought that's lasted a decade. It's a team that's well aware of its postseason situation.

"We're talking about it every day," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. "There's no hiding from it. This was an important step toward that goal."

Perry's 21 points tied a career high to help the Bulldogs rally from a 12-point deficit early in the second half. Quinndary Weatherspoon added 17 points and Lamar Peters had 11 points and nine assists. Weatherspoon has scored at least 10 points in 25 of 27 games this season.

Abdul Ado scored seven points and blocked six shots.

Peters said the Bulldogs stayed calm even when they fell behind.

"Don't get too frustrated because it only gets worse when you play mad," Peters said. "When you're frustrated, you think of negativity. I just told the guys let's get out there and have fun."

The Bulldogs split the season series against South Carolina after losing the first game 87-82 in overtime on Jan. 8.

South Carolina (14-13, 9-5) opened a 41-29 lead early in the second half, but Mississippi State quickly stormed back and went up 46-45 when Aric Holman threw down a dunk with 15:11 remaining. The Bulldogs never trailed during the final 13 minutes.

Perry, a 6-foot-10 freshman, shot 7 of 12 from the field and 7 of 7 on free throws. He added six rebounds. The McDonald's All-American has quickly turned into an indispensable part of the Bulldogs' offense, scoring in double figures in eight of his last nine games.

Mississippi State shot 65 percent from the field in the second half, slowly pulling away in the final minutes. South Carolina made just eight field goals in the second half.

A.J. Lawson led the Gamecocks with 18 points.

South Carolina dominated most of the first half, pushing to a 19-6 lead after Mississippi State made just one field goal during the first 11 minutes. The Gamecocks led 30-14 with four minutes remaining before halftime, but the Bulldogs closed the gap to 36-29 by the break.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin said Mississippi State's comeback was more about how well the Bulldogs played than anything the Gamecocks did poorly.

"They're real good," Martin said. "They're as hard of team to play against as I've coached against this year because of what they do off the dribble."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 13260

Reported Deaths: 625
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds89324
Lauderdale67855
Madison65421
Scott58910
Neshoba51231
Forrest48034
Jones46713
DeSoto4616
Leake38410
Holmes36523
Rankin3496
Jackson29613
Copiah2784
Attala27014
Lincoln24320
Monroe24224
Leflore24025
Harrison2346
Newton2243
Lamar2194
Yazoo2152
Pearl River20327
Pike19611
Adams18615
Lowndes1607
Noxubee1586
Washington1535
Warren1506
Bolivar14010
Jasper1393
Oktibbeha13410
Smith13110
Covington1271
Chickasaw12612
Clarke12616
Kemper12510
Lafayette1233
Carroll11310
Wayne1090
Marion1088
Lee1045
Clay993
Winston981
Coahoma983
Lawrence901
Hancock8711
Simpson850
Itawamba857
Yalobusha824
Wilkinson829
Montgomery781
Sunflower773
Grenada752
Jefferson Davis712
Union715
Tippah7011
Marshall693
Panola622
Calhoun604
Tate591
Claiborne581
Humphreys537
Amite521
Walthall510
Tunica483
Perry462
Jefferson400
Prentiss383
Stone300
Choctaw292
Webster271
Pontotoc263
Franklin252
Tishomingo250
Quitman240
Tallahatchie241
George191
Alcorn151
Benton140
Greene71
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 14478

Reported Deaths: 551
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile1996109
Jefferson161488
Montgomery118630
Marshall6499
Tuscaloosa50512
Lee49832
Franklin4476
Shelby43319
Tallapoosa39662
Butler34411
Chambers33623
Madison2964
Baldwin2749
Elmore2637
Etowah23610
DeKalb2213
Coffee2001
Walker1981
Dallas1973
Sumter1916
Lowndes18610
Houston1644
Morgan1621
Autauga1593
Calhoun1413
Choctaw1414
Pike1360
Colbert1362
Marengo1336
Hale1293
Russell1280
Lauderdale1282
Randolph1257
Wilcox1187
Marion11310
Bullock1111
Barbour1101
Clarke1022
St. Clair1021
Pickens934
Talladega912
Greene894
Chilton871
Dale830
Cullman760
Limestone740
Jackson692
Covington651
Washington645
Winston620
Macon602
Bibb591
Crenshaw582
Henry562
Blount491
Escambia433
Lawrence420
Coosa331
Geneva330
Cherokee332
Perry310
Monroe282
Clay272
Conecuh251
Lamar200
Cleburne131
Fayette110
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather