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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.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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While some cool mornings are again in store for the weekend, afternoons start to warm up a bit, so plan on dressing in layers if you're heading to the MSU or Bama games, because you'll need to utilize them in different ways.
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