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Second-half shooting pushes MSU past Missouri


Brett Hudson



STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men's basketball team's best shooting performance of the Southeastern Conference schedule came with impeccable timing. 


MSU shot 18-for-27 from the field in the second half Saturday night to beat Missouri 74-62 at Humphrey Coliseum. 


Quinndary Weatherspoon led MSU (15-6, 3-5 SEC) with 20 points. He also had six rebounds, four assists, and three steals to help the Bulldogs snap a two-game losing streak.  


Sophomore guard Lamar Peters had one of his best games of the season despite scoring only four points and attempting four shots thanks to a career-high nine assists and two steals. 


"I know we needed a game, so I wanted to make a difference," Peters said. "I feel like we have two dominant big guys (Aric Holman and Abdul Ado), so we have to use those guys. They made good passes and it worked out." 


Peters' passing was crucial down the stretch as MSU made its final seven shots of the game when Missouri (13-8, 3-5) was still within striking range. Freshman guard Nick Weatherspoon had the first three made field goals in a stretch of seven in a row. Nick Weatherspoon added 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Ado (12 points) scored three times in the first four minutes of the second half on his way to 5-of-6 shooting. 


MSU also benefited from an aggressive defense in the second half that forced 12 second-half turnovers and 19 overall. MSU ended with 24 points off those turnovers. 


"So many turnovers are uncharacteristic. That can't happen," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. 


Said MSU coach Ben Howland, "I thought doubling the post was really effective, which was something we hadn't done a lot of this year." 


MSU faced a seven-point deficit near the midway point of the first half before a 12-2 run gave the Bulldogs a three-point lead. 


In that run, Quinndary Weatherspoon and Tyson Carter (10 points, two steals) scored layups through fouls then made the free throws. 


Still, MSU trailed by five with 30 seconds remaining in the first half until one of its best sequences. Carter had a shot blocked by Jeremiah Tilmon, but Lamar Peters took over. With four seconds left on the shot clock, he corralled the loose ball, penetrated the same crease Carter tried and dished to Xavian Stapleton for a corner 3-pointer. 


Aric Holman checked into the game after a Missouri offensive foul just in time to grab with one hand a Stapleton miss from the opposite corner and flick it off the backboard and in at the buzzer. The shot tied the game at 31 at halftime. 


MSU was 10-for-14 from the free-throw line, including 6 of 6 in the first half. 


"We've got 10 games left in the league, and I feel like we're going to be playing better and better as we move on," Howland said.



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