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Basketball Falls to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament, 70-60

Trae Hannibal had a team-high 18 points.

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Basketball Falls to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament, 70-60

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Mississippi State rallied in the second half from a seven-point halftime deficit to score a 70-60 win over LSU in the second round Thursday of the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament at the Bridgestone Arena.

LSU falls to 17-15 overall after finishing 9-9 and in a tie for seventh place in the SEC in the regular season. The Tigers will now wait to see if they will be in the 32-team field announced Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. for the postseason NIT.

Down 15-13 entering the final 10 minutes of the first half, Jordan Wright and Mike Williams III hit three-pointers to give LSU the 19-15 lead with 8:47 to go before halftime. Hunter Dean pushed the lead to six, 23-17, with a driving dunk with 4:06 to play in the half and the Tigers, despite 13 first-half turnovers, went to the dressing room, up 32-25.

Eight players scored for LSU in the first 20 minutes with Hunter Dean the leading scorer with seven. The Tigers held Mississippi State to just seven first-half field goals (7-of-24, 29 percent) and 1-of-10 from distance as LSU lead for most of the final 10 minutes of the half.

But in the second half, the Bulldogs (20-12) came out after both teams missed shots in their opening two possessions and began to connect.

State got a three-point play (FG and FT) and a three-pointer to cut the margin to 29-28 at the 18:14 mark forcing an LSU timeout. LSU got on the board on a Will Baker three and a Tyrell Ward steal and score to push the LSU margin back to 34-28. But State would run off six straight points to take a 36-34 lead before Trae Hannibal’s jumper tied it at 36-36 with 12:23 to play.

But a 10-3 run by State gave them a 46-39 advantage that they would not give up. LSU had a 7-0 run keyed by Hannibal and Williams to cut it to one point with 5:22 left, 53-52, the Tigers could not get enough stops in the end to get the lead back against State.

State made 16-of-31 field goals in the second half (50.8 percent) and 5-of-11 from distance, while LSU was held to just 30 percent in the second half 8-of-26. The Tigers finished 19-of-50 for the game (38 percent) and 7-of-20 from distance (35 percent).

Hannibal made 6-of-8 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws to finish with a game high 18 points while Dean hit 3-of-4 field goals and 4-of-6 free throws to finish with 10 points. Ward had eight points and Wright and Williams had seven each. Wright had a team high eight rebounds.

Josh Hubbard led Mississippi State with 24 points, while Dashawn Davis had 12. Tolu Smith (13) and D. J. Jeffries (11) had double figure boards as the teams drew even in rebounds at 36.