EditorsNote: Updates with Vols’ semifinal opponent
Sophomore guard Lamonte Turner scored 15 points off the bench and No. 2 seed Tennessee held off No. 7 seed Mississippi State 62-59 in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament on Friday night in St. Louis.
The 13th-ranked Volunteers improved to 24-7 and advanced to play the winner sixth-seeded Arkansas in the semifinals Saturday. It’s Tennessee’s first appearance in the SEC semifinals since 2014.
Junior forward Admiral Schofield added 13 points and SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams had 10 as Tennessee beat the Bulldogs (22-11) for the second time this season, having prevailed 76-54 on Feb. 27 in Starkville, Miss.
Sophomore guard Lamar Peters led MSU with 22 points and junior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 17.
Tennessee led by seven points at halftime, but MSU scored the first four points of the second half.
The sophomore forward Williams scored three points as the Volunteers increased the lead to eight.
Peters made a 3-pointer and sophomore guard Eli Wright made a layup as the Bulldogs cut the lead to four before Schofield made a 3-pointer.
MSU cut the lead to four again before sophomore guard Jordan Bone made back-to-back layups to help Tennessee build a 49-40 lead.
Peters made two 3-pointers and Weatherspoon converted a three-point play as the Bulldogs got within 51-49.
Turner made three layups as the Volunteers grabbed a 58-51 lead with 2:03 remaining.
Peters made a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to get MSU within 61-59 with 41 seconds left.
The Bulldogs got the ball back after Schofield missed a 3-pointer, but junior guard Xavian Stapleton missed a 3-pointer with nine seconds left.
Bone rebounded for Tennessee and made a free throw to complete the scoring with three seconds left.
MSU freshman Nick Weatherspoon had his neck placed in a brace and was taken from the court on a stretcher in the second half after injuring his right hip and having his head accidentally stepped on by Tennessee junior forward Kyle Alexander while Weatherspoon was prone.
Weatherspoon was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. He was able to move his toes and was communicating with doctors, ESPN reported.
The lead changed hands seven times and the score was tied once before the Volunteers took a 24-18 lead.
Schofield scored five points as Tennessee increased its lead and took a 31-24 halftime edge.
MSU, which made 9 of 12 3-pointers in the first half and 10 of 17 overall in an 80-77 victory against LSU in the second round Thursday, made just 1 of 9 in the first half against Tennessee and finished 5 of 21.
—Field Level Media