Bulldog SEC Tournament Notebook

*Jarvis Varnado had been in shot-blocking slump, at least by his record-setting standards, at the end of the regular season with just six swats in the last three games. But the all-time NCAA leader in blocks added four to his tally this night, giving him 546 for his career.

And just his presence was an obvious weight on Gator minds as they short-armed a couple of makeable layups or checked-up short of the goal when the opening seemed there.

*Varnado has shot well down the stretch of his senior season, hitting 32-of-49 in the final four games; that's 65%. The last team to hold him under 50% from the floor was…Florida, at 6-of-16. He more than made up for this by making seven of nine shots.

"The first time they didn't take it away," Varnado said. "I missed shots. I slowed down today, took what the defense gave me and scored it."

*But the Gators held Varnado to a season-low four rebounds. Instead State's top board-man was Ravern Johnson with six rebounds. That matched his six boards in the Tennessee game.

*G Barry Stewart extended his school record for made-treys to 272.

*Though others had more makes from long range, F Romero Osby provided two of the biggest strikes in the game. He hit treys at 10:54 and 6:15 of the first half. That matched his highest outside-output of the season. And Osby's eight points were more than the six total he'd scored in the previous five contests.

*With five assists, PG Dee Bost has 171 for the season; the 10th-best ever for a Bulldog quarterback.

*Backup center John Riek got four minutes of action, but not wearing his usual #50 jersey. The freshman did a rookie thing and left his jersey behind. State carries extras just in case of such silliness and Riek played in #11.

*The win was Mississippi State's first in five SEC Tournament games played in Nashville.

*Friday night offered the very last chance for a SEC West team to defeat one of the top-four finishers from the Eastern Division. The latter had scored a perfect 24-0 record in inter-Division play during the regular season, and added four more wins in the first day-and-a-half of the tournament. When State took the court Friday in fact it was the West's last chance to get on the board as the other five teams had been eliminated.

*This was also a matchup of the SEC's two fewest-fouling squads. State was #2 in the latest NCAA stats in fouls-per-game, the Gators #6. The Bulldogs committed their 7th foul of the first half at 2:31; and of the second half at 4:00. Florida had only three personals in the opening period and did not put the Bulldogs in the bonus until just 35 seconds were left.

*Rick Stansbury is 15-9 in SEC Tournament games.

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