Mississippi State stops slide with overtime win against No. 11 TCU

Published 9:49 pm Saturday, January 28, 2023

STARKVILLE (AP) — Mississippi State stepped up its game when it stepped out of conference for the final time.

Tolu Smith had a season-high 27 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead Mississippi State to an 81-74 overtime victory over No. 11 TCU on Saturday.

Dashawn Davis added 16 points to help Mississippi State (13-8) snap a five-game losing streak. Shakeel Moore had 11, including six in overtime, while Cameron Matthews had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Tyler Stevenson also added 10 points off the Bulldogs’ bench.

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Mississippi State started the season with 11 consecutive victories, but this was just its second since Dec. 17. Its last two losses had been by a total of five points.

“For me it was an exhale,” Mississippi State coach Chris Jans said. “For the guys it was super-excited, joyous, celebrating a win. We didn’t address it that much. I told them how proud I was of them during this stretch because it’s real easy to start listening to noise and other people. I understand how that works and you start questioning things. But they kept with it.”

Smith was 9-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 at the foul line against TCU. He also added four blocked shots in his 36 minutes of action.

“We’ve been in those situations before, especially recently against Alabama,” said Smith. “I have some amazing teammates and win, lose or draw, we have to keep going. But it was good to exhale with that win, for us and our fans and our program.”

Damion Baugh led TCU (16-5) with 19 points and Emanuel Miller had 13. Shahada Wells and Jakobe Coles each had 12 for the Horned Frogs and Chuck O’Bannon had 10.

Davis’ 3-pointer with 55 seconds left in the second half gave the Bulldogs a 66-64 advantage. Emanuel Miller scored with 32 seconds remaining and then both teams missed chances to win in regulation.

Mississippi State took the lead for good in overtime thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Moore.

“No excuses,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “Like I told my guys, you have to find a way. You don’t get outrebounded by nine (42-33) and that’s not the answer. It didn’t go our way. We came in with some guys down but you have to be prepared. That happens to everybody and you have to find a way to get it done.”

Next up for Mississippi State is a trip to South Carolina on Tuesday, as the Bulldogs return to the Southeastern Conference schedule. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.

“I definitely see this as a boost,” Matthews said. “We’ve just got to go out and take care of business and get this thing on the road.”