Vanderbilt battled back and a lay-up by Dan Cage cut the Mississippi State lead to 18-9 with 10:30 remaining in the half. Later, a Mario Moore 3-point shot cut the lead to six at 20-14 with 7:15 remaining. Moore was held to 6 points.
A Shan Foster 3-point shot cut the Mississippi State lead to 24-19 with 2:45 remaining in the half. However, Vanderbilt turnovers and missed free throws enabled the Bulldogs to rebuild their lead. Ontario Harper hit two free throws to put the dogs back up by 11, at 30-19.
Two free throws made by Corey Smith closed out the first half scoring with Mississippi State leading 30-21. Smith finished with 8 points.
In the second half, Mississippi State raced out to a 46-31 lead on free throws by Lawrence Roberts. Roberts was held scoreless in the first half but had 15 in the second half.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game Vanderbilt started to rally. Freshman guard Alex Gordon hit three 3-point shots and had a steal in a two-minute period to bring the Commodores to within 3 at 47-44. A minute later fellow freshman DeMarre Carroll made a 3-point shot to tie the game at 47.
But Mississippi State went on an 8-0 run, spearheaded by Lawrence Roberts. Roberts' jumper with 4:25 remaining put the dogs up 54-47. A free throw by Power stretched the lead to 55-47.
With two minutes remaining, Corey Smith made two free throws and Foster hit a field goal to bring Vandy back to within four at, 55-51. Foster later hit another 3-point shot with 1:35 remaining to bring the Commodores within striking distance at 57-54. Foster finished with 14 points.
On Mississippi State's next possession, Lawrence Roberts made one of two free throws to put the Bulldogs back up by four, 58-54. On the ensuing Vanderbilt possession, Vanderbilt Alex Gordon was fouled but missed the free throw with 1:09 remaining. Mississippi State then made two more free throws and ran out the clock to seal the victory.
"Our guys fought extremely hard, and I was very proud of their effort and the way that we dug in," said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. "We got off to a bad start and ultimately that was too much to overcome. You can't spot them 11 and then expect to come back."