Bulldogs suffer second straight close loss on road

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NASHVILLE, Tenn-Riley LaChance swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key with .5 seconds left, giving Vanderbilt an 81-80 win over Mississippi State on Wednesday night.

LaChance’s teammates mobbed him near half-court before an official reviewed video replays to make sure his left foot wasn’t on the 3-point arc.

Xavian Stapleton hit 1 of 2 foul shots to give Mississippi State an 80-78 lead with six seconds left.

Jeff Roberson scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Payton Willis made a career-high five 3-pointers, leading Vanderbilt to its fourth straight home win.

LaChance and Joe Toye both scored 16 points for the Commodores (10-16, 4-9 Southeastern Conference), who went 14 of 27 from 3-point range.

Willis added 15 points for Vanderbilt, which won at home for the seventh time in nine games.

Mississippi State rallied from an 11-point deficit to take a 72-71 lead on Stapleton’s 3-pointer with 3:53 left.

The Bulldogs (18-8, 6-7), who haven’t won at Memorial Gym since 2012, fell to 1-7 on the road.

Mississippi State hit 10 of 17 shots from 3-point range. The Bulldogs made 58.5 percent of their shots from the floor and the Commodores made 50 percent.

The loss hurt Mississippi State, a bubble team, in its quest for its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009.

Stapleton led the Bulldogs with 18 points and Abdul Ado added 15. Tyson Carter scored 12, Aric Holman had 11 and Nick Weatherspoon added 10.

Vanderbilt’s Joe Toye made a highlight-reel ply with a tomahawk jam on Holman that gave the Commodores a 66-58 lead with 7:01 left. Toye showed “no regard for human life” tweeted one man watching the game.

Powered by a 13-0 run midway through the first half, Vanderbilt took a 40-31 halftime lead.

The Commodores avenged an 80-62 loss to the Bulldogs on Jan. 16 in Vanderbilt’s first game after losing Matthew Fisher-Davis to a shoulder injury.

Vanderbilt held a moment of silence before the game in support of the victims of Wednesday’s mass shooting in South Florida.

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