Mississippi State's 2015-2016 basketball season continues to slide, as Mississippi State fell to Texas Tech 74-72 in the consolation game of the 2015 Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Malik Newman led the way for Mississippi State with 17 points. Gavin Ware was right behind him with 15 points, and he also added nine rebounds.
Mississippi State started off on the right foot in the one, taking a 22-15 lead in the 1st half. What followed was a disaster. The Red Raiders ran off on a 22-2 run in which they couldn't miss a shot, and TTU took that momentum into the locker room with a 41-32 lead.
The 2nd half was a back and forth battle until Mississippi State was able to regain its footing late in the game, slowly inching their way back in front to a 68-64 lead with 5:19 left. Unfortunately, Mississippi State let it slip away, as the Red Raiders had a 74-72 advantage with a minute left in the contest. What followed was a series of costly mental errors for the Bulldogs.
Travis Daniels missed two free throws to tie it, and after a missed Texas Tech three, the Bulldogs had possession with 25 ticks left on the clock. After swinging it around the arc trying to find a shot, Malik Newman drove in the paint, right under the basket, only to miss a layup with :08 left. Fortunately, Gavin Ware was right there, snatching the rebound, but he followed it up with a missed layup. The Red Raiders got the rebound, and the game was over.
There are two consistent problems for Mississippi State - fouls and turnovers. The Bulldogs committed 20 fouls in the contest, and Texas Tech was able to convert on 18 of their 23 free throws (78.3%). State also turned the ball over 14 times, and the Red Raiders were able to turn those into 20 points.
Also, Mississippi State desperately needs to stop shooting threes. They're shooting way, way, WAY too many of them. In this contest, the Bulldogs went 8-27 (29.6%) from behind the arc. It was an overall solid shooting day for Mississippi State, making 27 of 61 shots (44.3%), but those wasted possessions with uncalled for threes were costly.
Mississippi State drops to 1-3 on the young season and will face off against Missouri State in their final Puerto Rico action, Sunday at 11 AM CT on ESPN3.