Hoops: MSU 75, South Carolina 70

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Mississippi State got a big game from Phil Turner – 16 points, 14 rebounds, six steals – and earned a big 75-70 win over South Carolina at Humphrey Coliseum. Those NCAA hopes remained alive, especially with how the Eastern Division is imploding (four-way tie at the top at 7-4). The Bulldogs (17-9, 7-4), who snapped a two-game losing skid, also got 20 points from Ravern Johnson. Dee Bost added 14 to go with five assists, and Barry Stewart had 10 points and four assists.

Turner had a big 3-pointer at the end of a minute-long possession – hittin’ that offensive glass! – and State made 7 of 8 from the free throw line over the last 2:06. Devan Downey paced South Carolina (18-6, 7-4) with 19 points. OK, some quotes, starting with MSU coach Rick Stansbury:

• “In the second half, I don’t think there was anything either team did X-and-O-wise, it was just about which team could find the grit and find the energy and which team wanted it the most.”

• On Bost: “I thought Dee did a good job getting into the lane and kicking out for some 3-point shots. I know he got Ray a big one, dribble penetration, he got Barry Stewart a big one, dribble penetration. That’s what your point guard’s got to do some.”

• On Turner: “Played with a lot of toughness and a lot of grit. Just effort and tougness. He’s sure not the strongest guy, and he’s sure not the biggest guy, and that what’s you’ve got to have, the things he can bring us.”

• On Downey: “I thought for the most part, particularly the second half, we controlled Downey not as much scoring but creating for everybody else. That first half, he got in the lane a bunch, and credit those post guys.”

Now, Turner:

• On his 3-pointer to make it 70-65: “Right there was a little breather, everybody exhaled after that shot.”

• On the importance of this win: “The guys came and practiced these last two days, practicing like it was our last game. I think that’s important for the rest of the season for us to be competitive for the NCAA tournament.”

And from Bost:

• On defending Downey: “He’s probably the fastest guy I’ve played against this year. Phil and them helped me out, especially in transition when he was coming up, they kind of slowed him down a little bit. Everybody just helped me out by not helping out too much, but hesitating, slowing him down a little bit.”

• On attacking Downey: “I knew he kind of overplayed, so coach was telling me on the bench instead of worrying about trying to run plays, just get into the lane and create.”

And finally, Johnson:

• “They didn’t have one man focused on me the whole night. They kept doubling down on Jarvis, and Jarvis was kicking out giving me a lot of open shots, and I got a lot of open shots in transition from them scrambling in that press.”

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5 Responses to “Hoops: MSU 75, South Carolina 70”

  1. leeearl Says:

    This one feels good after last week…..yes, I’m biased, but I think the two best teams in the SEC are the top two teams in the West…

  2. imabulldog Says:

    that would be accurate

  3. carwwest Says:

    i can def agree with that…

  4. darkcooger Says:

    Also agreed. I felt like the State/LSU game proved that point clearly. It also helps that MSU and LSU are both undefeated against East teams (in 7 games of 12). Heck, the West as a whole is 11-14 against the East, and we have Arkansas and Alabama (with a combined *FOUR* conference wins) dragging us down – the East’s only big loser is Georgia.

    Or look at it in terms of where the East leaders’ losses have come: half of Kentucky’s and South Carolina’s losses and 75% of Tennessee’s have been to West teams. 7 of their 16 combined conference losses are to the West. And these teams are tied for first!

    (If you look at the divisions as a whole and not just at their leaders, it turns out they’re almost perfectly matched against each other. For example, if you look at the West’s top 4, the West has ALSO lost 16 total conference games and 7 of those have been to the East. The big difference is that there is a huge gulf between the West’s #1 and the West’s #4, which is not the case in the East.)

  5. Brad Locke Says:

    Excellent points, cooger. Dovetails nicely with what I just posted.

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