Hoops: MSU 82, Ole Miss 80

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Mississippi State exacted revenge on Ole Miss and in the process secured the No. 3 seed for the SEC Tournament. That means a matchup with Georgia, which State beat 67-61 on Jan. 24 in Athens, at 2:15 p.m. Thursday in Tampa. Here in Oxford, MSU (19-12, 9-7 SEC) won a game that was tight all the way, and the Bulldogs played several minutes in the second half without juniors Jarvis Varnado and Barry Stewart, who sat with foul trouble. MSU’s bench scored 27 points; it had 26 against Florida on Wednesday after getting shut out a week ago by Auburn.

Stewart, who fouled out with 56 seconds left, led MSU with 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting (all from 3-point range). Dee Bost had 13 with five assists, and no turnovers, while Kodi Augustus added 13 off the bench. Varnado had nine points, six rebounds and two blocks.

For Ole Miss (16-14, 7-9), which won the Starkville matchup 67-63 on Jan. 21, Terrico White had a game-high 21 points. His halfcourt shot at the buzzer fell short. Malcolm White scored 20 on 7-of-8 shooting. David Huertas, bothered by a bruised foot, was not much of a factor. He played just three minutes in the second half and finished with 10 points.

MSU shot 48.9 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent (8 of 23) from 3-point range. Ole Miss shot 44.6 and 26.1 (6 of 23). Ole Miss outrebounded State 36-31. It was a physical game, as evidenced by the 72 combined free throws – MSU made 28 of 37, Ole Miss 24 of 35.

Now, for some postgame reaction, starting with MSU coach Rick Stansbury:

• On winning two straight: “Sometimes it’s not real easy to stay together, to stay focused and keep believing and keep working. This team deserves a lot of credit for doing that.”

• “This team needed something good to happen for them on the road in a tight situation.”

• On Augustus stepping up last two games: “I think he’s showing a little bit of what we thought he could be early in the year. Hopefully he can just keep carrying on now. This is a good time of the year to get that spark right now.”

• On Bost’s defense: “All those guards were driving the basketball by him early in the year. He’s gotten 200 percent better.”

• On free throws: “More important than making them or missing them, we were getting there. That’s not easy to do on the road, especially against a team that zones us a bunch.”

• On Stewart’s defense: “What he’s got, you get everything out of him he’s got ability-wise as a defensive player. And what he doesn’t have ability-wise, he offsets it with his mind. And he’s got some toughness.”

From Bost:

• On winning two straight: “This feeling right here gives us momentum going into the tournament, knowing we can win against any team.”

From Augustus:

• “I just practice and keep practicing hard and just wait my time. When I get in, I try to play hard and help the team out and just be consistent and do what the coach asks me to do.”

From Stewart:

• On Augustus: “It’s been big, been huge for us. Kodi’s so versatile, he gives you other things. As long as he’s going hard, he’s a perfect matchup for us out there.”

And finally, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy:

• “They certainly attacked us. I don’t think we did a good job in transition, and that’s been our Achilles’ heel all year.”

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8 Responses to “Hoops: MSU 82, Ole Miss 80”

  1. m4rebs Says:

    Congrats on the hard-fought, deserved win today in the Pad guys. Regardless of the outcome, both teams really played hard enough to win. Tip of the cap to ya.

  2. leeearl Says:

    Great game, see-sawed all night….we were lucky to come out on top…

  3. leeearl Says:

    It’s good to see Kodi playing and playing well, we’ll need him without EB…

  4. midnightdawg Says:

    Kodi gettin his mind right… Dr. dj style????? maybe too much to hope for, but I like it!!!!!!!!

  5. ripleyreb Says:

    Congratulations Bulldogs. Great game, and great coaching on both benches. Good luck in Tampa.

  6. leeearl Says:

    For Ole Miss to be this competitive with all those injuries should be given a lot of credit to Andy K….

  7. bigdraws Says:

    Thanks to yall rebels for the congrats. What a great game. Too bad there had to be a loser.

  8. darkcooger Says:

    Absolutely, a great effort by both teams. I wish I could have watched it, but just looking at the stats, both teams played hard and evenly. I mean, all the stats are close. That game could easily have gone either way and it would have been easy to say either team earned it.

    Way to go Dawgs and good luck to both teams in the tournament, until they meet each other at least. 😉

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