A rocky start with fouls on fouls on fouls had Mississippi State University fans leaving just before half-time. With three minutes left before the half, MSU had a shift of mindset, and the points for MSU on the scoreboard started skyrocketing and the Bulldogs lead Louisiana State University. However it was not enough, as MSU lost 92-88 in overtime.
Blaring buzzards and a roaring fan base just before halftime set MSU up for an exciting second half. Quinndary Weatherspoon, a senior guard from Canton, lead the MSU offense until the final ticks on the clock. He said if two plays were different, it could have changed the game’s outcome.
“I think down the stretch, the one I tried to hit Reggie and it hit off his feet, and then the last one the ball bounced off Williams’ leg and came back onto me,” Weatherspoon said. “If I could just get back those two plays, there’d be a different outcome.”
Reggie Perry, a freshman forward from Thomasville, Georgia, struggled to make his free throws during the game, getting just over 50 percent. In the game against LSU, the small details piled up, which ultimately lead to MSU’s last-minute demise.
“I feel like we’ve got to defend a little bit better on the stretch,” Perry said. “Making our free throws and we’ll be fine.”
A second half full of fouls, and a race to the final seconds in overtime resulted in LSU leaving MSU in the dust after keeping possession of the ball and running down the clock in the final 30 seconds. MSU head coach Ben Howland saw opportunity to learn from the game.
“We took some shots I thought at times, especially when we had an eight, nine-point lead, where we maybe want to manage it a little better and not be in such a rush,” Howland said.
Weatherspoon said he was not thinking ahead to what LSU player Waters would do as a follow up to his moves. He explained he just played the game and followed the calls Howland called for the team.
“Playing within the system, calling, playing what coach Howland’s calling, running it, and I was just able to get some overshots,” Weatherspoon said.
In a game where time ticked by as slow as ever, a sudden shift–just as this game displayed–can speed up the flow of the game. In the blink of an eye, MSU fell too far behind and could not pull back ahead when it mattered most.
“Credit to all those kids, you know Reid is a heck of a player, he had the big play,” Howland said. “We had a lead then when we lost the ball… They had all that time, they called a quick little hitter that got Reid open on a little back screen that was a huge play right there, a quick turn around.”