Mississippi State guard Craig Sword (32) is consoled by a teammate after Wednesday's loss to Texas A&M. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
It looked like Mississippi State was going to cruise to an easy victory after a hot first half Wednesday night.
That wasn't the case.
The Bulldogs (7-12, 2-5) couldn't hold off the Texas A&M Aggies (13-7, 3-4) and dropped a 55-49 decision in overtime at Humphrey Coliseum.
"(We're) disappointed with the loss," MSU head coach Rick Ray said. "I thought our guys came out hard and really competed."
The Bulldogs found themselves down 47-44 with 40 seconds left in the game and Ray decided not to use a timeout.Â
MSU junior guard Jalen Steele missed a 3-pointer, but freshman guard Craig Sword gathered in the offensive rebound and banked in aÂ 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left in the game to tie it at 47-47.
"I knew I had to shoot the ball because the time was running down," Sword said. "I hit and we went to overtime. I just shot it. It went in."
Texas A&M's J'Mychal Reese took the ball down the court, but his runner in the lane was not on mark leading to overtime.
MSU's Colin Borchert made the first basket of the extra period. He knocked down aÂ jumper just inside the 3-point line as time on the shot clock was expiring.
Texas A&M scored the final seven points in overtime to clinch the victory.Â
"I was proud of our guys fighting back," Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. "It's a good win for us."
The Bulldogs only made 1-of-6 shots in overtime, while the Aggies made 3-of-4 shots.
"I guess mentally we ran out of gas," Steele said. "Physically, we were good."
MSU has lost its last five games and last three at home.Â
The Bulldogs held a 29-17 lead at halftime. It was the first time this season they have held an opponent to 17 points or less this season. The Aggies came out in the second half on a mission.
Texas A&M opened the half on a 16-4 run to tie the game at 33-33. Elston's Turner at the 13:38 mark evened the ballgame.
MSU was 1-of-6 from the field during the run.
The next few possessions were back and forth until the Aggies took a 39-37 lead at the 10:37 mark. It was their first lead in the ballgame since a 6-5 lead at the 17:57 mark in the first half.
"I thought our guys came out and played hard in the second (half)," Ray said. "Two things that hurt us in the second half were turnovers and our big guys not finishing inside."
Sword answered with a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs back the lead at 40-39.Â
A&M answered again with a Ray Turner jumper to take a 41-40 lead.Â
MSU's Gavin Ware, a former Starkville High School player, had a huge dunk at the 7:57 mark to make it 42-41.
Texas A&M took another lead with an Elston Turner jumper to make it 43-42 in the Aggies favor with 5:21 to go in the game.
A&M pushed its lead to 45-42 and MSU's Roquez Johnson missed a point blank shot with 3:22 left in the game.
On the very next possession for the Bulldogs, Fred Thomas took a wide open 3-pointer that was going to tie the game but it fell off the mark.
The Bulldogs shot 5-of-19 from the field in the second half for 26.3 percent. Texas A&M was 14-of-30 shooting in the second half for 46.7 percent.
MSU took a 10-6 lead early in the ballgame. Texas A&M scored the next four points to tie the contest up. The Bulldogs struggled to put the ball in the basket in the next ensuing times down the court.
MSU fought through the six-plus minute scoring drought. Ware made a layup with 10:25 left int he first half for the Bulldogs first points since the 16:25 mark and the first points for either team since the 14:37 mark.
That basket started a 10-0 MSU run. Texas A&M's Fabyon Harris knocked down a 3-pointer with 7:45 left in the opening half to make it 20-13.Â
The Aggies scored only four more points in the half.
MSU ended the first half on a 9-2 run. Borchert knocked down a jumper at the 5:39 mark to start the Bulldog run. Kourtney Roberson's layup was the only Aggie points down the stretch.
MSU took a 29-17 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Bulldogs turned the ball over 24 times versus 22 turnovers for the Aggies.Â
Texas A&M was led by Harris's 17 points. Elston Turner added 11 points and Reese chipped in 10 points.
Ware led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Borchert scored 10 points and led the Bulldogs with five rebounds. Steele added nine points and Sword chipped in eight.
The Bulldogs are back at home Saturday when LSU comes calling. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports Net.
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