COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team’s comeback attempt came up short Saturday night as the Bulldogs fell to Texas A&M 67-64 at Reed Arena in the regular-season finale.
The Bulldogs (17-14, 8-10 SEC) trailed by as many as 19 points and were led by redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith with 18 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Iverson Molinar scored 15 points and dished four assists, while sophomore forward Andersson Garcia added a career-high 14 points to go with six rebounds off the bench.
MSU shot 24-for-52 (46.2%) from the floor, including 1-for-4 (25%) on 3s. Texas A&M (20-11, 9-9 SEC) shot 22-for-51 (43.1%) and 6-for-19 (31.6%) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs also outrebounded the Aggies 32-30.
Graduate guard Quenton Jackson led the Aggies with 18 points, while sophomore forward Henry Coleman III added 12 points. Junior guard Tyrece Radford finished with 11 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Wade Taylor IV scored 10 points.
With the score 9-8 early, Texas A&M went on an 11-2 run to take a double-digit lead at 20-10 with 10:50 left in the first half. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to six points before going into the halftime break trailing 33-22.
In the second half, the Aggies outscored the Bulldogs 11-3 to start and stretched their lead to 19 points at 44-25 with 14:19 left to play. An 11-1 spurt by MSU then made it a 45-36 game with 11:09 to play.
Sophomore guard Shakeel Moore hit a jumper and a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run for the Bulldogs that cut the deficit to six at 56-50 with 4:51 left. A basket by Coleman made it 58-50 before Garcia made a pair of free throws and threw down a dunk to make it 58-54.
MSU trimmed the deficit to three points in the closing seconds, but Texas A&M hit four straight free throws to end the Bulldogs’ comeback attempt.
MSU will now turn its attention to the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The 10th-seeded Bulldogs will take on No. 7 seed South Carolina on Thursday at 5 p.m. CT at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The game will air on SEC Network.