Starkville Daily News

Bulldogs see season end with loss to the Panthers

- From Staff, Wire Reports

DAYTON, Ohio – Shakeel Moore made the first 3-point field goal of the game for the Mississipp­i State Bulldogs in their First Four matchup against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the NCAA Tournament.

He had another opportunit­y with the game on the line late, but it fell off the mark.

Moore's miss and a tip by D.J. Jeffries was also off the target and the Bulldogs lost a 6059 decision to Pittsburgh.

The Panthers had a late second-half surge and Blake Henson hit a 30-foot 3-point shot to help establish a lead, but a 3-pointer by Jefferies got MSU to within 58-57 and a basket by Tolu Smith gave it a 59-58 lead. Those scores were a part of a 7-0 run by the Bulldogs.

Jamarius Burton made a goahead jumper with 10 seconds for Pitt in a back-and-forth game that featured 21 lead changes — most in the NCAA Tournament in five years.

It was a good start for the Bulldogs as Moore hit a 3-pointer to begin the scoring, then Smith had a layup to put MSU up 5-0.

The Bulldogs had three successful 3-pointers as it took an early six-point lead.

MSU suffered through a 5-minute stretch where they didn't score which made it a close game in the first half.

It was a 3-point fest in the first half as there were 13 shots from 3-point range between the two teams and the Panthers were able to take a one-point lead at halftime 35-34.

Dashawn Davis led the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Smith added 13 points. Jeffries paced the rebounding effort for State with 13.

The Bulldogs saw their season end with a 21-13 record, while the Panthers (23-11) won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 2014. They slotted into the Midwest Region as the 11th seed and advanced to face No. 6 Iowa State on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Mississipp­i State’s Shakeel Moore (3) tries to shoot the basketball against Pittsburgh’s Guillermo Diaz Graham (25) during the first half of a First Four game in the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Darron Cummings, AP)

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