"We just couldn't make shots in the second half, and turnovers killed us," said 13th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury, whose team is back on the floor at 3:30 p.m. CT Thursday against the San Diego/Baylor loser. "We knew coming in we had to be at our best to beat a very good Washington State team. I thought Kodi stepped up and hit some shots for us. We've got to put this behind us and move forward."
Down 45-43, Abe Lodwick drained a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 46-45 advantage, one they would never relinquish. That shot ignited a 14-0 run, one that finally ended on a Wendell Lewis dunk with 13:01 left to close the gap to 57-47. However, MSU would get no closer.
It was a second half that saw the Bulldogs hit 8-of-28 shots for 28.6 percent. In contrast, Washington State was 12-of-24, 9-of-16 from 3-point range. For the game, MSU was 19-of-55 shooting and WSU 31-of-62.
The Bulldogs also had a season-high 24 points, and WSU converted those miscues into 24 points. Washington State also won the battle of the boards, 42-29.
"You can't have 24 turnovers and expect to beat anybody, let alone a team like Washington State," Stansbury said.
Klay Thompson paced the Cougars with 28 points, while Faisal Aden came off the bench to add 20.
"We knew the type of player Thompson was coming in," Stansbury said. "No question he makes their offense go."
Thompson entered the game averaging a team-high 21.0 points. Ravern Johnson, MSU's leading scoring at 22.4 points, but was limited to just three on 1-of-10 shooting. It was his lowest scoring total since totaling three against Auburn at home last season.
Mississippi State went into the break up 40-39 thanks to a buzzer beater by Bryant, who poured in nine of his 14 points in the first half.
The Bulldogs trailed by as many as eight points midway through the opening frame at 25-17 on a 3-pointer by Thompson. However, MSU orchestrated a 18-9 run and went up 35-34 on three free throws by Augustus, who had 13 of his points in the first 20 minutes.
After the Cougars regained the lead, a 3-poiner by Riley Benock put MSU back on top at 38-36.
Mississippi State enjoyed the lead at intermission despite 11 turnovers Washington State converted into 13 points.