The #14 Mississippi State men’s basketball team was upset by South Carolina on the road in their SEC opener last night.
The Bulldogs and the Gamecocks were tied at 75-75 at the end of regulation, and State never found their rhythm in OT as they fell 87-82. With :34 left in the extra period, the Bulldogs were down 3 and Lamar Peters shot from beyond the arc to try and tie the game up, but his shot was off the mark.
South Carolina would miss their free throw attempt on their ensuing possession to give MSU another chance, but they wouldn’t get a shot off. Heavy pressure from the USC defense led to a Quinndary Weatherspoon turnover, and a dunk sealed the deal for the Gamecocks.
There were plenty of ups and downs throughout the game with several lead changes. MSU trailed by 7 with 12 minutes left before taking a 4-point lead with 5 minutes left to play before the back and forth scoring down the stretch which led to OT.
The Bulldogs struggled to contain USC’s Maik Koster, who scored a career-high 25 points with several clutch baskets in OT. Koster’s putback with 1:50 left in OT put USC up by 4 and a mid-range jumper put them back up by 3 with :42 left.
While all five starters scored in double figures for MSU, they didn’t get much help from their bench. The MSU bench contributed 2 points in a limited role, and after the game, head coach Ben Howland took the blame.
“I’ve got to do a better job of using our bench,” Howland told ESPN.
Aric Holman led the way for MSU with 20 points with 16 coming in the second half, and he earned a double-double with 10 rebounds. Weatherspoon leads the team in scoring on the season, but he shot just 5-14 from the floor with 15 points in the loss. As a team, MSU shot 44% from the floor and were 11-25 from 3-point range.
At 12-2, the Bulldogs are still off to their best start in recent history, and they’ll look to bounce back in a rivalry game against Ole Miss at home on Saturday.
The Rebels (11-2) face a tough test tonight as they host #11 Auburn in the Pavilion with tip-off set for 6:00 p.m.