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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.

Confirmed Cases: 64400

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5416112
DeSoto347227
Madison236360
Harrison228735
Rankin220231
Jackson215641
Jones182857
Forrest170155
Washington154835
Lauderdale137990
Lee129732
Neshoba126490
Lamar117713
Oktibbeha107737
Lowndes102333
Bolivar101032
Warren99531
Scott97820
Panola96012
Sunflower94223
Copiah92928
Lafayette90714
Leflore88261
Pike86133
Holmes85948
Grenada81921
Yazoo80312
Lincoln78741
Pontotoc7808
Leake77625
Simpson76730
Wayne74921
Monroe73151
Coahoma68410
Tate68327
Marion63419
Marshall6169
Covington60313
Adams59625
Winston59315
Union55215
George5454
Newton53011
Pearl River51537
Tallahatchie51210
Attala51024
Walthall48219
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee43811
Claiborne39913
Calhoun3929
Smith38913
Clay38014
Jasper3799
Alcorn3775
Prentiss3699
Hancock34914
Tishomingo3445
Itawamba32310
Clarke32225
Tippah32013
Tunica3076
Yalobusha30410
Lawrence3027
Montgomery3023
Humphreys28111
Carroll24811
Quitman2381
Greene23011
Kemper22715
Jefferson Davis2256
Perry2207
Amite2176
Webster21112
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson19313
Sharkey1913
Stone1603
Choctaw1294
Benton1280
Franklin1152
Issaquena241
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 91776

Reported Deaths: 1639
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12186230
Mobile9269204
Montgomery6350148
Madison512227
Tuscaloosa400269
Baldwin332223
Shelby311932
Marshall300134
Unassigned287856
Lee255442
Morgan227015
Etowah196728
DeKalb172113
Elmore163337
Calhoun162713
Walker147964
Houston133412
Dallas129823
Russell12672
St. Clair125214
Limestone122713
Franklin121520
Cullman117112
Colbert112213
Lauderdale111113
Autauga103021
Escambia98115
Talladega94613
Jackson8904
Chambers83238
Tallapoosa82778
Dale79823
Butler75435
Blount7453
Chilton7386
Coffee7255
Covington71620
Pike6727
Barbour5645
Lowndes56124
Marion54724
Marengo52914
Clarke4919
Hale45926
Bullock44411
Winston43511
Perry4324
Wilcox41110
Monroe3964
Randolph39210
Bibb3844
Pickens3769
Conecuh37310
Sumter36018
Lawrence3251
Macon31613
Washington31512
Crenshaw3073
Choctaw27612
Cherokee2497
Greene24711
Henry2473
Geneva2430
Clay2255
Lamar2052
Fayette1785
Cleburne1211
Coosa952
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