Starkville Daily News

Bulldogs performed the best when it mattered most in win


It was a hard-fought game that came down to who wanted it more, and there was no denying the Mississipp­i State Bulldogs when it mattered the most.

In their game of the SEC/ Big 12 Challenge, the Bulldogs snapped their five-game losing streak on Saturday when they took down No. 11 TCU in an electric 81-74 decision in Humphrey Coliseum.

MSU had a big start of the game on Saturday when it had a lead as big as 12 points in the first half. Despite being without leading rebounder Eddie Lampkin Jr. to start the game and losing leading scorer Mike Miles early on, the Horned Frogs crawled their way back late in the first half and cut the Bulldogs' lead to only six going into the halftime break.

The second half was much different than the first. It was a back-and-forth battle between Mississipp­i State and TCU with six lead changes.

When 40 minutes wasn't enough, MSU turned into a different kind of beast in the overtime period. After giving up an easy basket to start overtime, the Bulldogs just could not miss when they shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the 3-point line with both of those 3-pointers coming from guard Shakeel Moore.

This MSU team has been in the position several times this year where it had the lead late but didn't finish in the end. Moore broke down what was being focused on late in the game that ensured the victory for the Bulldogs.

“We were just thinking about finishing our winning plays, executing on a defense end, and just honing in on our defensive possession­s, getting rebounds, checking out, and stopping second chance opportunit­ies for them,” Moore said.

Forward Tolu Smith had a career game on Saturday when he led the Bulldogs with 27 points and a double-double, but that's not what he cares about.

Smith said breaking the losing

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