STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State was outscored 11-2 in the final 3:55 and wound up losing 72-63 to No. 19 Tennessee on Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs (14-9, 5-5 SEC) tied the game at 61-61 with 4:21 to play before the Volunteers (17-6, 8-3 SEC) used their late run to secure their sixth consecutive Southeastern Conference win.
Junior guard Iverson Molinar led MSU with 16 points, but he also had a career-high six turnovers. Graduate forward Garrison Brooks finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, while junior forward D.J. Jeffries had 13 points.
The Bulldogs shot 22-for-44 (50%), including 5-for-14 (35.7%) on 3-pointers, The Volunteers shot 28-for-57 (49.1%) from the field, 8-for-19 (42.1%) from 3-point range and 8-for-9 (88.9%) from the free-throw line.
Junior guard Josiah-Jordan James and freshman guard Kennedy Chandler each scored 18 points for Tennessee, while junior guard Santiago Vescovi and freshman guard Zakai Zeigler each scored 11.
MSU took a 2-0 lead before the Volunteers went on a 14-0 run to go up 14-2 with 16:14 left in the first half. The Bulldogs responded by going on an 18-4 run of their own to take a 29-27 lead, but Tennessee made the final two baskets of the half to own a 35-33 lead at the break.
The second half remained close, and the squads were knotted up at 61-61 with 4:21 to play before Chandler made a layup and Vescovi hit a triple to put Tennessee up 66-61. Sophomore guard Shakeel Moore made a layup to make it 66-63, but that was it for MSU as the Volunteers scored the final six points to secure the 72-63 win.
The Bulldogs will now travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a Saturday contest against LSU at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.