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Mississippi State 77, Tennessee 72

Mississippi State 77, Tennessee 72

BY PAUL JONES
ASSOCIATED PRESS

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Tolu Smith scored 23 points, including a three-point play with 14.7 seconds remaining, to lead Mississippi State to a 77-72 win over No. 5 Tennessee.

The win marked Mississippi State’s first win over a Top 5 team since defeating Oklahoma in December of 2002. The Vols are the fourth top five team to lose in the past 24 hours as No. 1 Purdue, No. 2 Houston and No. 3 Kansas also were beaten.

Freshman Josh Hubbard led Mississippi State (12-3, 1-1 in SEC) with 25 points, highlighted by a 5 of 10 showing from 3 point territory.

Dalton Knecht scored 26 of his 28 points in the second half for Tennessee (11-4, 1-1). Zakai Zeigler added 26 points for the Volunteers.

Both teams traded leads in the opening moments before Mississippi State took a 15-10 lead after a Smith three-point play. After Tennessee closed the gap to 16-14, Hubbard had a trio of 3 pointers to spark a 17-4 run by the Bulldogs as the lead grew to 33-18. Mississippi State led 35-22 at halftime, which was Tennessee’s lowest first-half scoring output of the season.

Mississippi State shot 50% in the first half while holding the Volunteers to 33% in the opening half. The Bulldogs were 4 of 9 from 3 point range and Tennessee was just 2 of 13 beyond the arc in the first half. Tennessee also had 10 turnovers in the first half.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: Wednesday’s loss marked Tennessee’s first loss to an unranked team this season. The Volunteers had won nine of the last ten meetings with Mississippi State and their previous losses this season came against No. 1 Purdue, No. 3 Kansas and No. 7 North Carolina.


January 10, 2024





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