No. 23 MSU had escaped by a single point in each of its last two trips inside this arena. However on this night, there would be no such escape. In the overtime, MSU’s Renardo Sidney hit a 3-point basket with 12 seconds left. Brian Bryant stole the inbounds was fouled heading to the basket. Bryant hit one of two, setting the stage for LSU to hit the game-winner.
Anthony Hickey did just that with a jumper in the lane breaking a tie score with three seconds left. The MSU inbounds pass was intercepted, sealing victory for the Purple and Gold.
“We really responded from Saturday (a 70-68 overtime loss to Georgia),” MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We came out ready to play. It was not about effort tonight. We just have to find a way to close games out.
“There was no room for error in the second half. We had all kinds of opportunities to win this game and to close it out. When you are on the road, you don’t get a lot of opportunities, so you have to take advantage of them.”
MSU fell to 19-7 overall and 6-5 in league play, with back-to-back conference losses for the first time this season. LSU improved to 15-10 overall and 5-6 in the league. The Tigers earned a season split, as MSU managed a 76-71 win in Starkville earlier in the season.
The Maroon and White started out on fire. MSU erased an early 5-4 deficit by scoring nine straight points. Back-to-back baskets by Rodney Hood and Bryant ran the lead to 13-5 less than five minutes into the contest.
From there, Dee Bost took matters into his own hands. Bost drained three consecutive 3-pointers as MSU built a 30-13 advantage with 6:19 left in the half.
LSU then finally found an offensive rhythm. A 9-2 run was capped by a John Isaac jumper, bringing the Tigers within 10 at 32-22. Still up 10, Bryant missed a jumper in the lane and LSU responded with a 3-pointer from Ralston Turner as the half expired.
That trey brought the guests within seven at 36-29 at halftime.
“That was a five-point swing and it was really big in the ballgame,” Stansbury said. “On the road, you can’t take possessions off. On the defensive end, we gave up too many transition baskets.”
LSU scored the first seven points of the second half to create a 36-36 tie. Not deterred, the Bulldogs bounced back out to a nine-point advantage at 46-37 on a Renardo Sidney jumper with 12:14 left.
Still, the Bulldogs missed all six 3-point attempts in the second half and failed to pull away. The Tigers reeled off a 17-4 run for a 54-50 lead with 6:07 left.
The Bulldogs moved back on top with a dunk by Bryant and layup by Hood. With a tied score and 41 seconds left, the Bulldogs turned the ball over when Arnett Moultrie was called for an offensive foul. Hamilton missed a potential game-winning 3-point shot for LSU as regulation time expired.
In the overtime, MSU built a 61-58 lead on a Hood 3-pointer. LSU scored the game’s next five points and despite two ties, never trailed again.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 27 of 60 shots from the field (45.0 percent), 6 of 18 shots from 3-point range (33.0 percent) and 7 of 10 shots from the foul line (70.0 percent). The Tigers hit 27 of 65 shots from the field (41.5 percent), 5 of 19 shots from 3-point range (26.3 percent) and 10 of 13 shots from the foul line (76.9 percent).
MSU held a 43-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had nine assists and 21 turnovers, while the Tigers had 12 assists and 11 turnovers.
Bost had a team-high 15 points, while Hood had 14 points and Sidney had 13 points. Moultrie posted his 14th double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Turner led LSU with 17 points. Hamilton added 14 points, while Andre Stringer and Storm Warren each added 10 points. Warren posted a double-double, as he also pulled down 11 rebounds, as well.
MSU plays at Auburn at 7 p.m. Saturday. That contest will be televised regionally by FSN South.