JACKSON, MISS. (AP)Johnny McCants scored a game-high 18 points, including the go-ahead jumper with two minutes left as New Mexico State turned aside a Mississippi State rally to secure a 58-52 win at the Mississippi Coliseum on Sunday.
Mississippi State came from 14 points down to edge ahead 52-51 on Reggie Perry’s dunk. McCants answered with a jumper at 2:02 to put the Aggies back in the lead and, after a Mississippi State miss, Evan Gilyard’s basket in the paint pushed the New Mexico State lead to 55-52.
Mississippi State turned the ball over three times in the last 1:07.
McCants was 7-of-10 shooting, including 3-for-6 from behind the arc. He also had three rebounds, two blocked shots and his steal with just under a minute left in the game helped seal it for the Aggies (8-6).
The New Mexico State defense held Mississippi State without a field goal in the last 2:35.
The Aggies never trailed the entire first half holding a 23-21 lead at halftime and then opened the second half on a 9-0 run to go up 32-21 with 18:03 remaining.
In a six-minute span, Mississippi State would go on a 19-6 run to cut the Aggie lead to 51-50 and would take a 52-51 lead on a transition dunk by Perry with 2:36 left. Gilyard and McCants came up with two big steals, C.J. Bobbitt made one free throw and Jabari Rice would hit two down the stretch.
Gilyard had 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-4 from three-point range and made all four free throws.
Perry had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Mississippi State, while Tyson Carter added 11 points for Bulldogs (8-3).
New Mexico State: The Aggies bench outscored Mississippi State’s 23-3 and shot 59% in the second half (13-of-22). NMSU also had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half that turned into eight second chance points. NMSU is now 3-9 all-time against teams from the Southeastern Conference with the last win coming on Dec. 29, 1994 against Alabama.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs went 3-for-16 from three-point for the game and just 1-for-8 in the second half.
New Mexico State hosts Northern New Mexico on Sunday, Dec. 29.
Mississippi State hosts Kent State on Monday, Dec. 30.
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