Bulldogs' Run Comes to an End

PORTLAND, Ore. -- For the Mississippi State men's basketball team, the postseason magic ran out Thursday afternoon. The cold-shooting Bulldogs fell to the Washington Huskies 71-58 in a first-round game of the NCAA Tournament West Region at the Rose Garden.

For the 13th-seeded Bulldogs, an exciting season ends at 23-13. MSU had won six straight games, including four straight in last week's Southeastern Conference Tournament. MSU bows out with an NCAA tourney appearance for the sixth time in Coach Rick Stansbury's 11 years as head coach.

For the Pac-10 regular season champion Huskies, fourth-seeded Washington improves to 26-8 and advances to a regional quarterfinal matchup with Purdue on Saturday.

The Bulldogs hovered in the upper 20 percent range from the field for most of the day. MSU only converted five 3-point attempts and had to watch Jarvis Varnado battle through foul trouble most the contest. Washington's Jon Brockman, the Pac 10's premier big man, had a monster afternoon with 10 points and 15 rebounds, totals good enough for his 59th career double-double.

MSU had the early lead in the opening stages of the game. The contest opened with a made 3-point basket by MSU's Barry Stewart. The Bulldogs then later led 10-6. A basket by UW's Elston Turner tied the teams 10-10. Dee Bost placed the Bulldogs ahead 12-10 on a layup.

From there, the Bulldogs lost their offensive touch. A 9-2 run by the Huskies allowed Washington open up a 19-14 advantage. The Huskies kept up the defensive pressure, while the Bulldogs failed to find an offensive answer, in addition to falling into foul trouble.

Washington finished the half a strong. A 3-point play by Quincy Pondexter in the final seconds gave the Huskies a 38-27 lead at halftime.

The Huskies scored the first six points of the second half and were rarely threatened in the final 20 minutes. MSU got no closer than 13 points (at 57-44 with 6:39 left) until the closing minutes. A Phil Turner 3-point basket cut the deficit to 66-54 with 1:50 left.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 20 of 58 shots from the field (34.5 percent), 5 of 18 shots from 3-point range (27.8 percent) and 13 of 19 shots from the foul line (68.4 percent). The Huskies hit 27 of 62 shots from the field (43.5 percent), 2 of 10 shots from 3-point range (20.0 percent) and 15 of 21 shots from the foul line (71.4 percent).

UW finished with a 45-35 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had five assists and 17 turnovers, while the Huskies had 13 assists and 16 turnovers.

Pondexter finished with 23 points to pace Washington's offensive attack.

Barry Stewart led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Turner had a team-high eight rebounds, while Bost had a team-high four assists and Varnado blocked four shots, completing his season with a new Southeastern Conference standard of 173 blocks.

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