Mississippi St. Stuns fifth-seeded Tennessee in SEC Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cameron Matthews and Josh Hubbard each scored 18 points and ninth-seeded Mississippi State dominated fifth-seeded Tennessee 73-56 on Friday in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals.

The victory should push the Bulldogs (21-12) solidly out of the NCAA Tournament bubble with their second win over No. 1 seed Tennessee this season. They will play the winner of No. 15 South Carolina and No. 12 Auburn in the semifinals on Saturday, their first semifinals since winning that event in 2009.

Mississippi State, which finished the regular season four games down, never trailed against the top seed in the SEC as the Vols managed to pull within one tie at 2-2. The Bulldogs also held Dalton Knecht, the AP SEC Player of the Year who averaged 25.5 points in league play, to 14 points.

Tennessee (24-8) dashed its hopes of earning the No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed in program history with its second straight loss.

The regular season champion Vols leaves a loser in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row after winning this tournament in 2022.

Zakai Ziegler scored a game-high 20 points, and Jahmai Machak added 10 points for Tennessee.

The volunteers had plenty of orange to support the fans who were desperate to give them energy. However, they faced difficulties in shooting, no matter how open their view of the basket was. Mississippi State, which beat LSU in the tournament opener, seemed like it couldn't afford to miss.

The Bulldogs shot 62.5% from the floor and led 38-19 at halftime as Sean Jones Jr. capped off a dominant start with a dunk to beat the buzzer after a rare miss by a teammate. They held Tennessee to a season low in points in the first half, three fewer than the last time these teams met.

See also  NFL Training Camp 2022 Updates

Mississippi State led by as many as 23 midway through the second half. When the Vols got within 60-48 with 10 straight points, DJ Jeffries hit a 3 and then a layup to stifle Tennessee's comeback hopes.

The Big Picture

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are one of 16 teams with at least two wins over top-10 teams during league play, another win following a win over Tennessee in January.

Tennessee: Knecht pulled the Vols out of some poor first-half performances during the regular season with big runs on his own. This time, he was 2 of 9 in the second half. The Vols are now 10-4 against the Bulldogs with coach Rick Barnes.

the next

Mississippi State swept South Carolina, including a 93-89 overtime regular season finale. The Bulldogs split with Auburn with each team winning at home.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *