At the half that didn't seem to be the case because the Bulldogs shot as poorly as they have all season long - 29.2% from the field - and trailed by twelve, 32-20.
"We didn't play with the energy and toughness you have to play with," said Stansbury. "Santa Clara out-toughed us at both ends the first half."
The second half proved to be a different story for both teams, especially the first eight minutes of the second half.
"We found a way to come out in the second half, particularly those first eight minutes, to outplay them," said Stansbury. "We allowed two points in those eight minutes. We set the tone of the game."
During the first 8 minutes and 49 seconds of the second half, the Bulldogs went on a 18-4 run that helped them go from a 12-point halftime deficent to a a 2-point lead, 38-36. During that run, 7-foot junior center Marcus Campbell scored 4 points and had one steal.
"I thought that Marcus Campbell came out and played his best six or seven minutes that he has played all year long at the start of that second half," said Stansbury. "I thought he was the guy a lot of us fed off of."
While the Bulldogs battled back to take the lead at the 11:11 minute mark, Santa Clara wasn't ready to concede the game. Behind two straight three-pointers the Broncos jumped back out to a 4-point lead, 42-38.
Then they extended it ever further with another three-pointer to make the score 47-40 with 7:20 to go in the game.
For the next three-plus minutes, the Broncos kept a lead of 4 points or more. Then the Bulldogs started their comeback with 3:47 on the clock.
After the Broncos jumped back out to a 5-point lead with 1:19 on the clock, the Bulldogs' Branden Vincent made a layup to move MSU back to within three with 1:06 to go in the game.
The Bulldogs then forced a turnover and sent the game into overtime when senior Timmy Bowers dished the ball off to Winsome Frazier, who converted a three-pointer.
"Frazier didn't have a good game (2-of-8 three-pointers) but he stepped up and made a big shot on a great decision by Timmy Bowers," said Stansbury.
During the overtime, the Bulldogs outscored the Broncos 9 to 4 to earn the hard-fought victory. Seniors Branden Vincent and Timmy Bowers scored four points each in the overtime.
"It was a huge win for us in the way we won the basketball game," said Stansbury. "Our kids found ways to make plays. If it proved one thing to them, it proved what toughness and effort is about."
The Bulldogs shot 40.4% from the field, while the Broncos shot 46.6%. From three-point range, the Bulldogs were a horrendous 10.5%, their worst three-point shooting this season. Frazier and Bowers were a combined 2 for 17 from three-point range.
MSU out-rebounded Santa Clara 41-30 and had 6 less turnovers (16-22).
The Bulldogs take a few days off for the Christmas holidays before returning Christmas Eve for practice in preparation for their December 27th Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic matchup against the Tulane Green Wave in New Orleans Arena. Gametime is set for 3:30 p.m.
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.