Another solid effort and tempo control put LSU in position for its first conference victory Saturday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center only to have Mississippi State’s Phil Turner dash the Tigers hopes with a three-pointer with 5.8 seconds to play that was the difference in MSU’s 60-59 win over LSU.
The Tigers fell to 9-17 on the year and 0-12 in the league while State kept alive its chances for an NCAA Tournament berth by running its record to 19-8 and 7-5 in the league.
The Tigers hung close most of the game but trailed by six at 55-49 with 3:31 to play. Tasmin Mitchell and Storm Warren made layups to cut the lead to 55-53 but State came right down by Ravern Johnson hit a jumper with 92 seconds left to make it 57-53 in favor of the Bulldogs.
On the ensuing possession, Warren missed a dunk, Mitchell rebounded and was fouled. On the ensuing inbounds, Bo Spencer hit his only three of the game to cut it to 57-56 with 1:18 to play.
After an LSU foul and another MSU possession, Chris Bass stole the ball from Dee Bost and LSU called its final timeout with 44 second to play.
LSU got a shot from Spencer with 25 seconds that missed which Warren rebounded. Warren then missed and Spencer got the rebound and threw it to Tasmin Mitchell who swished his fourth three of the game to give LSU a 59-57 lead. State went straight on offense and passed the ball around to an open Turner for what would be the game-winning trey. Spencer would miss a half-court three for LSU’s last chance.
“I feel like we played hard the whole game. It came down to a last-second shot,” Mitchell said. “We lost by one. It’s the closest we’ve ever been to a (SEC) team this whole year. That’s a good thing. We can’t look back and say we could have done this, or we could have done that. We just played a hard-fought game and lost at the end by one.”
Mitchell moved into fifth all-time in scoring at LSU past Bob Pettit, scoring 25 points to go to 1,926 career points and his nine rebounds put him over 900 career boards.
Mitchell hit 9-of-20 shots, including 4-of-5 treys with four assists and two blocks in 40 minutes. Warren had 14 points and Dennis Harris 10 for the Tigers who out rebounded Mississippi State, 36-33, with 15 assists and just nine turnovers.
State got 16 from Johnson and 14 from Jarvis Varnado who had seven blocked shots. State shot 44 percent from the game but 14-of-28 in the second half with six treys. State becomes the seventh team in the last eight games to shoot 50 percent or better against LSU in the second half.
The Tigers now play at home Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center against Arkansas.