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MSU loses to South Carolina-Upstate in Jackson

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) — Mississippi State’s much-improved effort in the second half was not enough to get the team back in the win column Saturday afternoon.

Ty Greene’s jumper in the lane with six seconds left in regulation lifted South Carolina Upstate to a 53-51 win over Mississippi State before a crowd of 1,102 in the Mississippi Coliseum.

The Bulldogs hit only 1-of-15 3-point shots attempts and managed only six assists in the contest. The loss extended MSU’s losing streak to five straight games.

“There was no hanging heads after this game,” MSU junior guard Fred Thomas said. “We played great this game. We competed and stayed in the game because we defended well. If we harp on the losses, they will continue. We have to overcome the losses and find a way to get a victory.”

MSU (5-5) struggled offensively in the early stages of the contest. The Bulldogs kept playing defense though to hang tight. A basket by Travis Daniels gave MSU its first lead at 11-10.

Upstate (9-4) responded with the game’s next seven points. A jumper by Greene from the top of the key ran the Spartans’ advantage to 17-11.

The Bulldogs managed one field goal over the final 9:55 of the half and trailed 22-15 at the intermission.

“We just didn’t bring it in the first half,” MSU senior forward Roquez Johnson. “We should have played like that the whole game. In the first half, we needed the effort from the second half when everybody was on the same page.

“The disappointment is building up. We brought a lot of energy tonight. We just got to correct mistakes.”

In the second half, the Bulldogs scored the first six points to quickly close within 22-21 on a dunk by Johnson.

Upstate followed with a couple of transition baskets to fuel a 7-0 run for a 31-23 lead with 14:18 left in the half.

MSU battled back for a 35-33 lead on back-to-back possessions where Johnson drove to the basket, drew a foul and hit both free throws.

Upstate responded with the game’s next seven points.

The Bulldogs would not lead again until a jumper from Trivante Bloodman placed them on top 49-48 with 1:53 left. A dunk by MSU’s Fallou Ndoye tied the teams at 51 with 17 seconds left.

“That game hurt our guys,” MSU Head coach Rick Ray said. “That game hurt because our guys did give a concerted effort to do what the coaches asked them to do. We played with the competitive spirit and defensive effort that we needed to play with. To give that kind of effort and have a loss is disappointing.

“We have to continue to do those things that we did today to give ourselves a chance to win.”

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 17 of 44 shots from the field (38.6 percent), 1 of 15 shots from 3-point range (6.7 percent) and 16 of 21 shots from the foul line (76.2 percent). The Spartans hit 21 of 52 shots from the field (40.4 percent), 4 of 25 shots from 3-point range (16.0 percent) and 7 of 12 shots from the foul line (58.3 percent).

MSU held a 39-23 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had six and 16 turnovers, while nine assists and seven turnovers.

For a second straight games, Johnson led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points, while Ndoye added 11 points.

Upstate received 14 points from Damian Goodwin, 12 points from Greene and 10 points from Fred Miller.

MSU will host Jacksonville University at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Humphrey Coliseum. That contest will be available on SEC Network Plus.

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