COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Tyson Carter scored 15 points to lead Mississippi State to a 67-63 victory over Missouri on Saturday.
After the Tigers had cut the Bulldogs’ lead to two points in the final minute, Carter drove the lane and made a finger-roll layup to give Mississippi State (19-10, 10-6 Southeastern Conference) a cushion. Reggie Perry and Nick Weatherspoon each scored 12 points.
Xavier Pinson led the Tigers (14-15, 6-10 SEC) with 20 points, Dru Smith scored 19 and Mitchell Smith added 10.
The Bulldogs opened efficiently, shooting 58% from field as they took a 41-34 halftime lead. Point guard Dru Smith kept the cold-shooting Tigers in the game, piling up 11 points and six rebounds in the first half.
Mississippi State extended its lead to 11 points with 12 minutes left in the game before Missouri responded with a 9-0 run, capped by Mitchell Smith’s follow-dunk of a Pinson miss. Pinson tied the game at 53 with a pull-up jumper in transition. Mississippi State leaned on Perry to regain control. He scored in the lane on consecutive possessions.
As was the case in the previous meeting, Mississippi State dared Missouri to make 3-pointers and the Tigers couldn’t do it. Missouri made just 6 of 29 from 3-point range.
Missouri: The loss to Mississippi State was just the third time in conference action that Jeremiah Tilmon and Mark Smith both played. Tilmon and Smith were expected to be the stars of the team entering the season, but Tilmon missed 14 games with a foot injury and Smith sat out seven with a back injury. As Missouri tries to salvage an NIT bid, Tilmon and Smith are playing complementary roles. Tilmon scored seven points, and Smith didn’t score.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs began the day 54th in the NCAA’s NET ranking and were listed as one of the first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament in the mock bracket of ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. With the win at Missouri, Mississippi State kept hope alive. It still needs to finish the regular season strong and do some damage in the SEC Tournament to feel good about its chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
Missouri: The Tigers play at Mississippi on Wednesday.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs visit South Carolina on Tuesday.