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Bulldogs blow second-half lead, fall to Texas A&M 56-55

Bulldogs fall to 8-5.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team led Texas A&M by as many as 13 points in the second half, but the visiting Aggies escaped with a 56-55 victory Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.

With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 8-5 (3-2 SEC), while the Aggies improve to 7-4 (2-3 SEC).

Sophomore guard Iverson Molinar led MSU with 16 points. Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. and redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith added nine and eight points, respectively. Smith led the Bulldogs with six rebounds.

MSU shot 22-for-51 (43.1%) from the field, including 5-for-14 (35.7%) from 3-point range. The Aggies shot 23-for-53 (43.4%) and 3-for-10 (30.0%) from beyond the arc.

Texas A&M had three players score in double figures, led by senior guard Jay Jay Chandler with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting off the bench. Sophomore guard Andre Gordon scored 11 points and sophomore forward Emanuel Miller added 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Bulldogs led 15-12 at the first media timeout before growing their lead to 12 points at 25-13 with 6:41 left in the first half.

The Aggies cut it down to eight points at 29-21 with 2:47 left, but back-to-back buckets from Molinar and freshman guard Deivon Smith gave MSU a 12-point lead again before heading to the halftime break with a 33-23 lead.

MSU led 40-27 with 17:28 to play. The Aggies then used a 13-0 run to tie things at 40-40 with 11:54 to play.

The Bulldogs used a 6-0 run to go up 50-44 with 5:14 to play. Miller then scored the next five points for Texas A&M to make it 50-49.

MSU Redshirt senior forward Abdul Ado then hit a jumper to make it 52-49, but Texas A&M senior guard Savion Flagg added a dunk and Gordon added an alley-oop dunk plus a 3-pointer to give the Aggies a 56-52 lead with 1:52 left.

Redshirt senior forward Jalen Johnson made a layup and then split a pair of free throws for Mississippi State to end the game’s scoring at 56-55 with 57 seconds left.

The Bulldogs will look to bounce back Saturday when they host the Florida Gators at 3 p.m. CT. The game will air on ESPN2.