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February 5, 2011

Bulldogs hold off LSU in thrilling finish

BATON ROUGE, La. - Defensive pressure saved the day for the Mississippi State men's basketball team. The Basketball Bulldogs held LSU scoreless the final 3:23 of regulation, stealing a 58-57 Southeastern Conference victory Saturday afternoon in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Andre Stringer attempted to shoot a game-winner with only two seconds remaining. However, Dee Bost caused Stringer to lose the handle as he attempt to get the shot off. It was the second straight possession which ended that way, with Renardo Sidney doing the same thing to Malcolm White one possession earlier.

"I am really proud of the effort and the determination," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury, who coached his 200th SEC game Saturday, moving his personal mark to 109-91 in those contests. "It wasn't always real pretty. But anytime you win a league game on the road, you have had a good day. Our defensive toughness was really good there down the stretch."

MSU won its fourth straight in the series and for the eighth time in the last 11 meetings with LSU. MSU improved to 12-10 overall and 4-4 in league play, while LSU fell to 10-13 and 2-6. The Tigers have lost six straight after a 2-0 start to conference play.

LSU actually did not get a shot in the final 2:09 of regulation. The Tigers turned the ball over on their final three possessions, including one trip where the Bulldogs committed three straight fouls but still had not forced LSU into the bonus situation.

"Sometimes, you need something positive to happen to you as a team," Stansbury said. "I thought we got a lift from several guys during this game. This game was more about rebounding and playing the type of hard-nosed defense you have to play on a consistent basis to win in this league."

The lead changed hands three times during a competitive first half.

LSU enjoyed early leads of 8-4 and 11-7. A 3-point basket by Ralston Turner ran the LSU advantage to 17-11 with 12:58 left in the half. At the time, the Tigers had hit 4-of-6 shots from 3-point range, only to miss their next nine attempts from long range.

The Bulldogs then enjoyed a 13-2 run to grab and extend their first lead of contest. Brian Bryant gave the Bulldogs a 21-19 advantage. A 3-point basket by Riley Benock capped the run and extended the lead to 24-19 with 7:50 left in the half.

LSU held the Maroon and White in check the next two minutes, scoring five straight points to pull the teams even at 24. Again tied at 26, MSU managed only basket over the final 4:33 of the half - Benock's third trey of the opening half.

The Tigers ended half on a 9-4 run, creating a 33-30 halftime push.

On the second possession of the final half, MSU's Sidney tied the contest on an old-fashioned 3-point play. Bost gave MSU a 37-35 lead on a 3-point basket with 17:44 left. Back-to-back baskets by White and Turner placed LSU ahead before MSU answered for a 40-39 lead on another Benock 3-pointer.

The teams were again tied at 41 and 45. Kodi Augustus placed the Bulldogs on top 47-45 on a baseline jumper with 10:55 left. LSU went more than three minutes without scoring before Chris Bass tied the teams again on a layup with 8:12 left.

With 4:20 left in regulation, Sidney hit one of two free throws to break the game's 13th tie. LSU grabbed a 54-52 lead on the other end on a 3-point basket by Stringer - a make that snapped a string of 16 straight misses from beyond the arc.

After Sidney tied the contest again on a baseline move, Stringer made it back-to-back 3's for a 57-54 lead for the hosts. With 2:26 left, Augustus scored a putback, cutting the deficit to 57-56. The Maroon and White forced a defensive stop. Offensively, Bost sank two free throws for a 58-57 MSU lead with 1:59 remaining.

The Bulldogs missed a golden chance to expand the lead when Bost forced a steal but missed the layup on the offensive end. MSU again got the defensive stop with defensive pressure from Sidney forcing White to lose the basketball as he was going up for a shot attempt.

Bost missed a runner in the lane with 10 seconds remaining and White pulled down the defensive rebound. However, the Maroon and White again stood tall and closed out the win.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 20 of 53 shots from the field (37.7 percent), 7 of 18 shots from 3-point range (38.9 percent) and 11 of 17 shots from the foul line (64.7 percent). The Tigers hit 22 of 59 shots from the field (37.3 percent), 6 of 24 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 7 of 9 shots from the foul line (77.8 percent).

LSU held a 39-38 rebounding advantage. MSU had 10 assists and 13 turnovers, while LSU had nine assists and 13 turnovers.

Sidney recorded his first double-double in the Maroon and White, collecting 16 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes of play, while only committing one foul. Benock finished 4-of-5 from 3-point range for 12 points, while Augustus scored 10 points.

LSU received 15 points from Stringer and 10 points from Aaron Dotson.

The Bulldogs host Arkansas at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The SEC Network will have the regional telecast from the Humphrey Coliseum.



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