GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mississippi State trailed by 10 at the half, but the Bulldogs outscored the Florida Gators by a 43-26 margin in the second half en route to a 78-71 win over the Gators Tuesday night at Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center.
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 13-7 (4-3 SEC) and have now won four consecutive Southeastern Conference games. The Florida Gators fall to 12-8 (4-3 SEC).
With the score at 9-7 in favor of Florida, the Gators went on a 10-2 run to to take a a double-digit lead at 19-9 with 12:35 to play in the first half. The Gators would grow their lead to as many as 16 points at 36-20 with six minutes to play in the first stanza.
The squads went into the halftime break with Florida leading 45-35.
The second half was a different story. MSU made 14 of their first 20 shots in the half and used a 9-0 run to erase the deficit and knotted things up at 52-52 with 11:19 to play.
Sophomore guard Tyson Carter drained a 3-pointer with 8:58 to play, giving Mississippi State a 59-58 lead, and the Bulldogs held never lost it. Carter was feeling it and made two more layups following that three, giving MSU a 63-58 lead.
The Bulldogs completed the comeback as they won 78-71.
Sophomore forward Reggie Perry could not be stopped n the game. He finished with 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Robert Woodard II shot 6-of-7 from the field, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. He finished with 16 points.
Junior guard Nick Weatherpoon and senior guard Tyson Carter also put up double-digit scoring performances, finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
As a team, MSU shot 28-of-52 (53.8%) from the field and 7-of-12 (58.3%) from 3-point range compared to 26-of-58 (44.8%) and 8-of-21 (38.1%) by Florida. State’s strong second half saw the Bulldogs shoot 14-of-23 (60.9%). The Bulldogs held a 32-26 rebounding advantage.
The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday when they host Tennessee. Tip time is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.