STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team held off the South Carolina Gamecocks for a 79-76 win Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 17-9 (8-5 SEC), while the Gamecocks fall to 16-10 (8-5 SEC).
The game was close for much of the first half. But with the score tied 12-12, MSU scored the next five points to go up 17-12 with 10:09 to play in the first half. The Gamecocks brought themselves within one point at 21-20 with 7:32 to play before the Bulldogs grew their lead back to eight with just under five minutes in the half.
MSU went into the halftime break with a 36-27 lead,
The Bulldogs’ first double-digit lead of the game came with 15:32 left to play when a dunk by freshman guard D.J. Stewart Jr. made it a 47-37 lead.
South Carolina clawed its way back by scoring seven unanswered points to make it 48-44. The Bulldogs answered by growing its lead back to nine at 59-50 with just over eight minutes to play.
The Gamecocks fought their way back once again by drawing within three points at 61-58 with 5:35 to play, but the Bulldogs were able to distance themselves once again, going up 11 with 2:26 left in the game. However, South Carolina kept fighting and came within a single point with under seven seconds left, but the Bulldogs extended the lead to three and then fouled to force two South Carolina free throws. The Gamecocks, after making one and trailing by two points, couldn’t get a rebound after an intentional miss as MSU escaped with a 79-76 win.
Junior guard Nick Weatherspoon led the team with 18 points and six assists. Stewart scored 16 points, while redshirt junior forward Abdul Ado finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Sophomore forward Reggie Perry was limited to 2-of-8 shooting as he finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Robert Woodard II added nine points to go with six boards.
As a unit, the Bulldogs shot 23-of-46 (50%), while the Gamecocks shot 29-of-60 (48%). MSU shot 28-of-36 (78%) from the free-throw line compared to 14-of-19 (74%) by South Carolina.
The Bulldogs now travel to College Station, Texas, to face the Texas A&M Aggies for a 2:30 p.m. CT game on Saturday. The game will be televised by SEC Network.