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Today In MSU History: Ray White's Game-Winner vs #17 Kentucky

1/15/1979- With six minutes left and the game tied at 61, Mississippi State held the ball for 5 minutes and 55 seconds, and Ray White hit a long jumper with 3 seconds left as MSU beat #17 Kentucky 63-61 at The Hump.

The 1978-79 season was a good one for Mississippi State basketball. First-year coach Jim Hatfield was leading the Bulldogs, who began the season with eight consecutive non-conference wins. State began SEC play with two tough road losses at Alabama and at Georgia, before settling down and getting three straight SEC wins, including an exciting double-overtime victory against ole miss at The Hump.

On January 15th, the 11-2 Bulldogs faced #17 Kentucky, the defending national champions, at The Hump. In their non-conference slate, the Wildcats had beaten three teams ranked in the top-10, but they slumped in SEC play, winning just one of their first four SEC games.

State took the lead early, but Kentucky grabbed control midway through the opening period and led 38-35 at halftime.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to gain much of an advantage. With the game tied at 61, Kentucky's Dwight Anderson stepped to the free throw line for a one-and-one opportunity.

He missed the front end, and State grabbed the rebound with 5:58 left.

What happened next would either make you mad or put you to sleep, as State went into an epic pre-shot-clock-era stall that lasted for FIVE MINUTES AND FIFTY-FIVE SECONDS. No shots, no change of possession, just dribbling and passing for almost six minutes. You could've gone to the bathroom, gotten some popcorn, and been back in your seat without missing a thing.

With 3 seconds left on the clock, point guard Ray White pulled up and drained a 22-foot jumper (that's the equivalent of a three-pointer today) that put Mississippi state ahead 63-61.

Kentucky missed their final heave at the buzzer, and the home-standing Bulldogs pulled off an upset win over the #17 Wildcats.

Ray White was obviously the hero of the game, but State's big men Wiley Peck and Rickey Brown led the Bulldogs in scoring with 24 and 20 points, respectively.

State went on to finish the season with a 19-8 record and participated in the NIT, at that point, just our second ever postseason appearance.