Stapleton's late 3s push MSU past USM

The Bulldogs won their annual Christmas game in Jackson and will enter the holiday break with an 11-1 overall record.

Posted: Dec 23, 2017 9:51 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2017 10:42 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Back-to-back 3-point baskets late in the second half by Xavian Stapleton helped lift Mississippi State to a 70-64 victory against in-state rival Southern Mississippi Saturday night at Mississippi Coliseum.


The Bulldogs won their annual Christmas game in Jackson and will enter the holiday break with an 11-1 overall record. MSU also beat Southern Mississippi last season in this building.

MSU saw a nine-point halftime lead slip away. Three second-half 3-pointers by Stapleton helped fuel the comeback.

"(Stapleton) really came up big for us there at the end," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "His experience on the floor was huge because (Southern Miss) played a four-guard lineup. That's just a bad matchup for us. We had too many turnovers (16), but we made enough plays down the stretch to get the win.

"We feel fortunate to get out of here with a win."

The Bulldogs scored seven straight points to open a 7-3 lead early. The Golden Eagles followed with seven points of their own to reclaim the lead. A 3-pointer by Stapleton and two free throws by Tyson Carter pushed the MSU advantage to 17-11.

The lead would grow to 11 at 26-15 after a pair of Nick Weatherspoon free throws. After the Golden Eagles were back within three points, Eli Wright capped a 7-0 run for the Bulldogs to open a 34-24 lead.

In the opening half, the Bulldogs committed only seven turnovers and led 36-27 at the break.

"We are getting set for Southeastern Conference play a little more than week from now," Howland said. "There are a lot of facets of the game we have to get better at. Southern Miss really competed hard, played hard and that caused us some problems. Credit to them for their game plan and how they were able to execute it."

The Bulldogs still held a nine-point lead at 45-36 with 13:46 left. From there, MSU had some turnover problems and missed a series of free throws to allow Southern Miss back into the contest.

A 10-0 run gave USM a 46-45 lead with 10:17 left. The Golden Eagles still led 54-50 with 5:55 left before back-to-back treys from Stapleton. Quinndary Weatherspoon followed with a critical putback on an offensive rebound to give the Bulldogs some breathing room.

For the contest, MSU hit 23 of 44 shots from the field (52.3 percent), 7 of 20 shots from 3-point range (35.0 percent) and 17 of 29 shots from the foul line (58.6 percent). Southern Miss hit 23 of 57 shots from the field (40.4 percent), 9 of 26 shots from 3-point range (34.6 percent) and 9 of 14 shots from the foul line (64.3 percent).
MSU held a 35-30 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 15 assists and 16 turnovers, while the Golden Eagles had 15 assists and nine turnovers.

Southern Miss (7-6) received 22 points from Cortez Edwards and 11 points from Kevin Holland. Edwards also had a team-high seven rebounds for the Golden Eagles.

After taking some time off Christmas, MSU will be back in action at 4 p.m. Saturday against North Florida. The final non-conference game of the season will be available nationally on SEC Network +.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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