Mississippi State outlasts Southern Miss
Xavian Stapleton hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a late surge and lead Mississippi State past Southern Mississippi 70-64 on Saturday at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss.
Stapleton finished with 12 points and Aric Holman, Lamar Peters and Nick Weatherspoon each scored 10 points for the Bulldogs (11-1), who have bounced back from a loss to Cincinnati with three straight wins.
Cortez Edwards hit a 3-pointer and Tim Rowe knocked down a jumper during a 10-0 run that gave Southern Miss a 46-45 lead midway through the second half.
The Eagles extended their lead to 54-50 with 5:55 to play before Mississippi State mounted its late run.
Stapleton answered with a pair of 3-pointers and Weatherspoon scored five points in the final two minutes to help seal the win.
Edwards had a game-high 22 points and Kevin Holland added 11 points for the Eagles (7-6), who were coming off a blowout loss to Florida State and have now dropped two straight games following a four-game win streak.
Mississippi State led by as many as 11 in the first half. Weatherspoon hit a pair of free throws to put the Bulldogs up 26-15 with 5:46 left before halftime.
The Eagles used a 9-1 run to trim the Mississippi State lead to 27-24, before Peters and Eli Wright hit layups to send the Bulldogs into halftime with a 36-27 lead.
Mississippi State shot 52.3 percent from the floor but hurt itself at the foul line. The Bulldogs connected on only 17 of 29 free throws.
Southern Miss begins Conference USA play at Marshall on Thursday.
Mississippi State hosts North Florida on Dec. 30 before opening SEC play against Arkansas on Jan. 2.