STARKVILLE, Miss. – In Mississippi State’s first double-overtime thriller since Richard Williams’ 1997-98 squad, the visiting LSU Tigers (20-4, 8-1 Southeastern Conference) squeaked by the Bulldogs (16-8, 6-3) by a score of 97-94 at Humphrey Coliseum Wednesday evening.
All-SEC junior Jarvis Varnado connected on 10 of his 18 shots from the field to easily surpass his previous career high with 31 points to go along with his eight rebounds and six blocks. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Dee Bost followed with 20 points on a career-high 10 free throws made out of 12 attempts.
Senior Brian Johnson pulled down a season-high seven points and four rebounds while sophomore Phil Turner matched a career high with 11 rebounds and three assists. Junior Barry Stewart finished the game with a season-high nine rebounds along with 10 points and is now just one point shy of becoming State’s 30th member of the prestigious 1,000 point club.
The game’s leading scorer notched 41 points for the Tigers, as junior forward Tasmin Mitchell connected on 12 of his 15 shots from the field and 15-of-18 free throws. Mitchell also claimed 11 rebounds for the game’s only double-double.
LSU scored the game’s first five points, but State regained the lead at the 15:09 mark on a three from Bost. State immediately fell behind again and trailed at the break, 26-31.
State slowly closed the gap and finally tied the game at the 11:30 mark at 48-apiece on two made free throws from Turner. The game remained tight throughout, as the score was again tied at 72-all on a Varnado free throw. Turner then grabbed a rebound from a missed Temple layup, and Varnado missed the final three as time expired to send the game to its first overtime.
MSU was never able to possess the lead in the first overtime, and consistently fought back from small deficits. Senior guard Terry Martin was sent to the line with 1:04 remaining and the LSU advantage at 81-80 with the opportunity to put the game at three points. After making the first, a lane violation was called against the Tigers, and Stewart then slashed to the basket for a layup to tie the game at 82. After an LSU turnover and a missed layup from Bost, the game headed to its rare second overtime.