Utah State's Upset Bid Falls Short With 66-64 Loss at No. 15 Mississippi State
Dec. 31, 2011
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Danny Berger's three-pointer with two seconds remaining bounced off the front of the rim and Utah State's upset bid at No. 15 Mississippi State ended with a 66-64 loss here Saturday afternoon.
Utah State led 64-62 with 2:42 remaining following a Kyisean Reed jumper and had a chance to go up four on its next possession before it missed two free throws. Mississippi State then tied the game on a putback basket by Arnett Moultrie, followed by a pair of free throws from Dee Bost to give the home team the two-point lead with 34 seconds to play. With fouls to give, MSU committed a pair of personals in the final seconds and then held on for the two-point win.
Sophomore guard Preston Medlin led Utah State with 15 points, while senior guard Brockeith Pane added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. Senior forward Morgan Grim also scored in double-figures as he finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and a career-high three assists.
Rodney Hood led all scorers with 16 points for Mississippi State, while Moultrie finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Renardo Sidney added 13 points and seven boards.
Leading by three at the half, Mississippi State took its largest lead of the game at 43-36 with 13:59 to play only to see Utah State score six unanswered to get back within one at 43-42. USU eventually regained the lead at 54-53 on a Ben Clifford three-pointer and extended its advantage to three on its next possession on a Pane jumper. The Bulldogs scored the next five points to go up two and led by two at 62-60 with 3:43 left before the Aggies scored on consecutive possessions with baskets by Grim and Reed to give Utah State its final lead at 64-62 with 2:42 to play.
Utah State finished the game shooting 48.2 percent from the field (27-56), 36.4 percent from three-point range (4-11) and 6-of-9 from the free throw line (.667). Mississippi State shot 43.3 percent overall (26-60), including 43.8 percent from three (7-16) and 58.3 percent at the line (7-12). MSU also out-rebounded USU by four (35-31) and added five more assists (14-9). Both teams finished the game with nine turnovers, the second-fewest of the season for Utah State.
Both teams combined to miss the first 10 shots of the game before Reed scored Utah State's first four points on a 15-foot jumper from the top of the key followed by a pair of free throws. Mississippi State took its first lead at 6-4 following a layup from Moultrie, but Utah State then went on an 11-0 run that began with a Medlin three-pointer and ended with a Medlin jumper to put USU up 15-9 with 11:23 to play in the half. MSU responded with a 10-2 run to get within one at 17-16 and eventually tied it at 21-21. The Aggies got its lead back to five at 29-24 following two Medlin free throws at the 2:58 mark, but the Bulldogs closed the half on an 8-0 run to lead 32-29 at the break.
Medlin led Utah State with nine first-half points as Utah State shot 42.9 percent (12-28) including 16.7 percent from three-point range (1-6) and 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Mississippi State shot 40.7 percent in the first-half (11-27), but made 5-of-8 (.625) three-pointers and 5-of-7 (.714) free throws.
Utah State returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 5 when it begins Western Athletic Conference play at home against Fresno State at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by the WAC Sports Network on broadcast live throughout the state of Utah on KMYU-TV.