State can't hold second half lead, falls to TAMU 56-55
In a season of peaks and valleys, Mississippi State was swallowed into the depths of another valley. The Bulldogs fell to Texas A&M Wednesday night, 56-55, collapsing from a 13-point lead early in the 2nd half.
“The key factor of the game, and it’s all on me, was our attack of their press,” Ben Howland said postgame. “I thought their press got better in the 2nd half, as we got a little fatigued. But, what we were doing was too tentative, and we have a different press offense that I’ve used my entire career that we needed to use which is much more aggressive when we’re trying to score. That’s something that is totally on me, and I take full responsibility for it.”
The first half was totally dominated by Mississippi State with the Bulldogs shooting 50% from the field while holding Texas A&M to 37.5%, heading to halftime with a 33-23 advantage. Iverson Molinar racked up 12 points in the stanza while A&M’s leading scorers had only five apiece.
The second half, meanwhile, was one of stifling Texas A&M defense and lackadaisical Mississippi State offense. MSU was able to put together only 22 points in the half while turning the ball over eight times. Up 40-27 with 17:28 to go, the Bulldogs didn’t score for nearly seven minutes, allowing A&M to tie the game.
State was able to re-gain a six-point advantage with just over five minutes remaining, but the Aggies persisted, making stops while State couldn’t. MSU had an opportunity to win the game, having possession down one with six seconds left, but they couldn’t get off a shot—a fitting end of a disastrous night for Mississippi State.
Iverson Molinar led State with 16 points, nothing only four in the 2nd half. The next-leading scorer was D.J. Stewart with nine.
“Texas A&M is a very well-coached, hard-playing team,” Howland stated. “They kept hanging in there with us and took advantage down the stretch. We’ve got to bounce back from this.”