Mississippi St 70

(10-21, 4-14 SEC)

South Carolina 59

(14-18, 4-14 SEC)

Coverage: ESPN3

7:30 PM ET, March 13, 2013

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 T
MSST 32 3870
SCAR 21 3859

Top Performers

Mississippi State: F. Thomas 21 Pts, 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 5 Stl, 3 Blk

South Carolina: L. Chatkevicius 11 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Mississippi St. 70, South Carolina 59

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Fred Thomas scored a career-high 21 points Wednesday night as No. 13 seed Mississippi State defeated No. 12 seed South Carolina 70-59 in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Mississippi State (10-21) advanced to a second-round game Thursday against No. 5 seed Tennessee (19-11). The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games, though they had lost 13 straight before that.

Colin Borchert and Roquez Johnson scored 11 points apiece and Gavin Ware added 10 for Mississippi State.

Bruce Ellington scored 13 points and Laimonas Chatkevicius matched a career high with 11 points for South Carolina, which has lost five of its last six.

South Carolina's Brenton Williams, who had scored a career-high 38 points in a 79-72 victory over Mississippi State on March 6, shot 2 of 13 and had just six points Wednesday.

After the game went back and forth for the first nine minutes, Mississippi State took control by going on a 13-0 run to break a 13-13 tie. Thomas, one of three freshmen in the Bulldogs' starting lineup, scored eight points during that spurt by hitting a pair of 3-pointers and two free throws.

Damien Leonard ended a six-minute scoring drought for South Carolina by hitting a jumper and followed that with a 3-pointer that cut Mississippi State's lead to 26-18, but the Bulldogs quickly recovered. Mississippi State led 32-21 at halftime and stayed in front by at least four points the rest of the night.

Mississippi State got unexpected production from 3-point range. The Bulldogs were last in the SEC in 3-pointers per game (4.7) and 3-point percentage (.281) during the regular season, but they went 7 of 15 from beyond the arc Wednesday while South Carolina was 6 of 31.

Thomas led the way by going 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

South Carolina cut Mississippi State's lead to 60-56 on a Williams 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining, but Mississippi State answered with six straight points. Thomas sank a 3-pointer and made two free throws during that game-clinching spurt.

Wednesday's victory represented a step forward for a Mississippi State program that has battled all kinds of injuries in coach Rick Ray's debut season.

Junior guard Jalen Steele and freshman guards Andre Applewhite and Jacoby Davis tore anterior cruciate ligaments. Senior forward Wendell Lewis fractured a right patella tendon. Steele ranked second on the team with 10.1 points per game. Lewis averaged 8.1 points in just eight games before getting hurt.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 70 59
FG Made-Attempted 23-49 (.469) 24-64 (.375)
3P Made-Attempted 7-15 (.467) 6-31 (.194)
FT Made-Attempted 17-27 (.630) 5-7 (.714)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 13 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
Largest Lead 13 2

2012-13 Season

Jan 9, 2013 @MSST 56, SCAR 54Recap
Mar 6, 2013 @SCAR 79, MSST 72Recap
» Mar 13, 2013 MSST 70, @SCAR 59Recap