MSU Loses 63-49 to 18th Ranked So. Illinois

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Jamont Gordon recorded his third game with 20 or more points this season but it wasn't enough as Mississippi State (3-2) fell to the 18th-ranked Southern Illinois Salukis by a margin of 63-49 Friday afternoon in the semifinal round of the Anaheim Classic.

The Bulldogs will now face the loser of Friday night's Southern Cal – Miami (OH) matchup in an 8 p.m. CT contest Sunday night for third place in the tournament. Sunday night's affair will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

Gordon, who is averaging 18 points per contest, shot 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-8 from long range, in becoming the first player to score 20 or more against the Salukis in nine games dating to last season.

The team's leading rebounder, sophomore Jarvis Varnado, grabbed seven boards in the loss. Senior Charles Rhodes contributed six rebounds of his own and sophomore Ben Hansbrough dished out a team-high six assists.

Despite being outrebounded 29-24, the Salukis shot an impressive 17-of-18 from the free throw line to pull out the win. The victors were led by senior Randal Falker, who scored his second-straight game over 20 points with 23 on an 7-of-9 effort from the floor. Junior Bryan Mullins also contributed a game-high eight assists on the contest.

Following a closely battled first half, the Bulldogs entered the second stanza down only by four at 32-28. However, coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs would see Southern Illinois jump out to a 6-0 run and hover around a 10-point advantage throughout the remainder of the game.

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