(Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
It was a turn of 180 degrees for the Mississippi State defense Thursday night in Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs only allowed Tennessee to score 58 points in a 62-58 victory, which was better than the 98 points the Arkansas Razorbacks scored on them Saturday night in Fayetteville.
"Our defense didn't cross the Mississippi (River) going to Arkansas," MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. "But I didn't panic because they were the only ones to score more than 75 against us. We did better tonight."
The Volunteers came in averaging 74.5 percent points per game. It was pretty obvious by halftime that UT was not going to reach its season average. They scored only 27 points in the first half.
The Bulldogs even ended the game on a good defensive play. Dee Bost picked Trae Golden's pocket with less than 10 seconds to go and slammed it in the goal to give the Bulldogs the win.
"Give Dee a lot of credit stepping up and making that last play," Tennessee head coach Cousno Martin said. "He (Golden) tried to go between his legs and he just slipped."
Bost seized the opportunity from the Vols' miscue.
"He was dribbling and I guess he just lost it and I was just trying to keep pressure on him," Bost said. "He was going to go for the shot so I was trying to keep him out of the lane."
An offensive stat may have aided in the defense's good play.
The Bulldogs only turned the ball over nine times. Last Saturday, they were forced to turn the ball over 18 times and the Razorbacks took advantage of it.
Only one player had more than one turn over and that was Bost with six.
"I thought Dee got tired in the second half," Stansbury said. "I didn't play Deville Smith a whole lot."
He redeemed himself with the steal which was his 167th and good for third all-time at MSU.
Arnett Moultrie, Brian Bryant and Wendell Lewis each had one turnover each. Guards Jalen Steele and Smith had none in 43 minutes combined of play.
The Bulldogs also got a season-high 10 blocks for the night. They kept Tennessee from getting easy baskets and the Volunteer players noticed.
"They are big and athletic," Tennessee player Kenny Hall said. "We were aggressive taking it to the cup and that's basketball. It happens like that."
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