Perry, Q. Weatherspoon lead Bulldogs to second half rally over Gamecocks
STARKVILLE, Miss.–Reggie Perry tied a career-high with 21 points, Quinndary Weatherspoon added 17 and Mississippi State rallied in the second half to beat South Carolina 76-61 on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (20-7, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) won their fourth straight game. They split the season series against South Carolina after losing the first game 87-82 in overtime on Jan. 8.
South Carolina (14-13, 9-5) opened a 41-29 lead early in the second half, but Mississippi State quickly stormed back and took a 46-45 lead when Aric Holman threw down a dunk with 15:11 remaining. The Bulldogs never trailed during the final 13 minutes.
Perry, a 6-foot-10 freshman, shot 7 of 12 from te field and 7 of 7 on free throws. He added six rebounds.
Mississippi State shot 65 percent from the field in the second half, slowly pulling away in the final minutes. South Carolina made just eight field goals in the second half.
A.J. Lawson led the Gamecocks with 18 points.
South Carolina dominated most of the first half, pushing to a 19-6 lead after Mississippi State made just one field goal during the first 11 minutes. The Gamecocks led 30-14 with four minutes remaining before halftime, but the Bulldogs closed the gap to 36-29 by the break.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ under-the-radar rally to get into NCAA Tournament consideration took a huge hit in Starkville. South Carolina looked great in the opening minutes, but couldn’t match the offensive pace when Mississippi State went on its run.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs reached 20 wins for a second straight season. Mississippi State is down to a seven-man rotation because guard Nick Weatherspoon has been suspended the past three games for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The Bulldogs are making it work because all seven are providing big plays.
South Carolina: Hosts Alabama on Tuesday.
Mississippi State: Hosts Missouri on Tuesday.