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Bost makes big plays to lift MSU past LSU

 

By The Associated Press

 

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Dee Bost didn''t have one of his better afternoons Saturday in the Mississippi State men''s basketball team''s 58-57 victory against LSU. 

 

But Bost made the necessary plays to give the Bulldogs a much-needed victory. 

 

First, Bost connected on the two winning free throws just inside the two-minute mark. Then, Bost saved the victory by stripping the ball from Andre Stringer on the last possession. 

 

"On that last possession, I knew it was crunch time," said Bost, who missed the last two days of practice with a strained right Achilles'' heel. "I just stayed down in my stance and played defense. We were in a slump. It''s always good to win on the road." 

 

Stringer broke the 15th tie of the game with a 3-pointer to put LSU in front 57-54 with 3 minutes, 21 seconds remaining. MSU then moved ahead on a put-back basket by Kodi Augustus and two free throws by Bost. 

 

The Tigers never got a shot off after Bost''s two foul shots with 1:59 remaining in the game. One LSU possession ended with a turnover by Ralston Turner. After a steal by Stringer, the Tigers lost the ball on a turnover by Malcolm White. 

 

LSU had one final chance after White rebounded a missed shot by Bost with 10 seconds remaining. Once again, the Tigers never got a shot up as Bost prevented Stringer from getting up the ball to the basket. 

 

"I was real leery of going with an on-ball screen on the last possession," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "We put the ball in Andre''s hands. He had done a good job getting the ball into the lane. It was the best thing we could do. Dee did a good job." 

 

Despite being bothered by the heel injury, Bost still played 36 minutes. He missed nine of his 11 field-goal attempts. Bost had made only 2 of 5 foul shots before sinking the pair at the end of the game. He also committed five turnovers with just two assists. 

 

Renardo Sidney led the Bulldogs (12-10, 4-4) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Riley Benock added 12 points, while Augustus had 10. MSU played without Ravern Johnson, a 17.7 scorer, who was suspended by coach Rick Stansbury on Friday. 

 

"Not until we went through shoot-around this morning did we know Dee was going to start," Stansbury said. "It''s obvious watching he wasn''t himself today. He missed a lot of shots, but he found a way to get it done." 

 

Stringer was the leading scorer for LSU (10-13, 2-6) with 15 points. Aaron Dotson contributed 10 points for the Tigers, who lost their sixth game in a row. 

 

LSU took a three-point advantage into halftime on the strength of a 7-0 run. MSU broke a 26-26 tie on a 3-pointer by Benock with 3:30 remaining in the half. Baskets by Turner and Dotson put the Tigers in front by one point. 

 

Eddie Ludwig then sank three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt late in the shot clock. Bost made 1 of 2 free throws with five seconds remaining to leave the Bulldogs behind 33-30 at halftime. 

 

LSU''s biggest lead in the opening half was six points at 17-11 after Turner connected on a 3-pointer with 12:54 left. MSU then outscored LSU 13-2 to take its largest advantage at five points. 

 

Eight of those 13 Bulldogs points came from reserves -- 3-pointers by Shaun Smith and Jalen Steele and a field goal by Brian Bryant. A 3-pointer by Benock gave MSU a 24-19 lead with 7:49 remaining in the half. 

 

It took the Bulldogs slightly more than two minutes into the second half to go out in front. A three-point play by Sidney tied the score at 33. A 3-pointer by Bost gave MSU a 37-35 lead with 17:56 remaining in the game. 

 

The game remained close over the next 14 minutes, with neither team building more than a two-point lead during that stretch. The score was tied eight times in that span.

 

 

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