WACO, Texas (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - After hitting a couple of game-winning shots earlier in his career, Quinndary Weatherspoon added a postseason game-winner to his resume Sunday afternoon.
Despite leading by as many as 20 points in the first half, MSU had to erase a nine-point deficit in the final 4:40 to put away Baylor 78-77 in a second-round game of the National Invitation Tournament at the Ferrell Center.
After Baylor grabbed a lead with five seconds remaining, Lamar Peters fed Weatherspoon, who hit an a 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired. The shot hit off the front end of the rim but bounced in to keep the Bulldogs' season alive.
MSU now faces Louisville Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs stand one win shy of Madison Square Garden and the tournament's semifinal round for the first time since 2007.
The Bulldogs improved to 24-11 with the victory, the most wins in a season since 2010.
Nick Weatherspoon's return to the lineup and some strong 3-point shooting energized the Bulldogs early.
An early 8-0 run helped stake the Bulldogs to a 16-7 lead late in the first quarter. The Bears followed with eight straight before the Bulldogs scored the final eight points off a turnover-free quarter for a 24-15 lead.
The last run included a dunk by Xavian Stapleton, a 3-pointer by Stapleton and a 3-pointer by Carter.
The run would stretch to 15-0 to start the second quarter, as the Bulldogs built a 31-15 lead with 8:26 left in the half. A 3-pointer by Carter pushed the advantage to 40-20 with 4:22 left in the half.
MSU hit eight 3-pointers in the first half and led 47-33 at halftime. Stapleton had 15 first-half points for the Bulldogs.
Baylor cut the lead in half three minutes into the third quarter. A dunk by Aric Holman capped a 7-0 run for the Maroon and White, running the lead back to 55-41.
Over the final 4:44 of the quarter, Baylor reeled off a 17-2 run for a 58-57 lead.
Baylor continued to play well inside, while stretching the lead to 71-62 with 4:40 left. The Bulldogs chipped away with the next eight points, with a 3-pointer from Quinndary Weatherspoon bringing the Bulldogs within 71-70 with 2:09 left.
A 3-pointer by Carter tied the contest with 35 seconds left Baylor then held for potentially the final shot. However, Quinndary Weatherspoon had enough time to give his team the win instead.
For the contest, MSU hit 28 of 52 shots from the field (53.8 percent), 13 of 22 shots from 3-point range (59.1 percent) and 9 of 11 shots from the foul line (81.8 percent). Baylor hit 31 of 61 shots from the field (50.8 percent), 3 of 12 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 12 of 17 shots from the foul line (70.6 percent).
Baylor held a 34-21 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 24 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Bears had 20 assists and 12 turnovers.
Baylor (19-15) received 26 points from Terry Maston, 17 points from Jo Lual-Acuil, Jr., 15 points from Manu Lecomte and 11 points from Nuni Omot.
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