Mississippi State men’s basketball team suffered an embarrassing home loss to a Southeastern Conference bottom feeder opponent Wednesday.
The Tigers ended a 10-game losing streak in league play by escaping Humphrey Coliseum with a 84-82 victory after a frantic second-half comeback by the Bulldogs.
“They’ve been close in a lot of games, they just haven’t closed them out,” Stansbury said. “Tonight, they simply finished this game.”
From the six-minute mark in the first half, Mississippi State (14-13, 6-7 in SEC) didn’t hold a lead the rest of the game and managed to tie the game once with less than two minutes left.
Mississippi State senior guard Riley Benock pump faked a contested opportunity from three-point range and got a open look inside the arc that rattled in and out at the final buzzer.
“I honestly thought it was going in,” Benock said. “It’s tough for us but we’re still in control of our own destiny.”
With the loss, Mississippi State is now tied with Arkansas for second place in the Western Division and the first round bye in the SEC Tournament with three games left to play including a March 2 contest against Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
LSU (11-17, 3-10) scored the most points since its season opener when they dropped 87 against Northwestern State on Nov. 12. The Tigers shot 42 percent from the field for the contest and were 8-for-14 from beyond the three-point arc in the first half. LSU got 17 second-chance points and 34 points off their bench with sophomore guard Aaron Dotson and junior forward Garrett Green ended with double figures.
“I know we can’t play any better offensively,” LSU head coach Trent Johnson said. “It’s a great win for us.”
The Bulldogs starting guards (Benock, Dee Bost and Jalen Steele) contributed 13 of the team’s 18 turnovers.
“You’re talking about guys that had 16 assists and no turnovers in our last game and now they all have turnovers at crucial times tonight,” Stansbury said.
Steele, who finished with eight points, suffered an significant injury to his anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee and the freshman guard will be scheduled for an MRI this morning before further details are revealed.
Mississippi State sophomore forward Renardo Sidney led all scorers with 24 points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes with the only blotch on his box score Wednesday night was a disappointing 6-for-12 from the foul line.
LSU had five players finish in double figures with Dotson leading the Tigers with 16 points in 22 minutes. The sophomore, who had come in shooting 4-for-20 from three-point range, made 3-of-5 from beyond the arc Wednesday to surprise the Bulldogs defense.
“They got back in it by just jumping up and making a lot of shots,” Stansbury said.
Mississippi State will next be in action Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Tennessee to play the Volunteers. That contest will be the final broadcast of MSU play-by-play broadcaster Jack Cristil.