Did clutch three minutes save the Mississippi State basketball season?

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /

The Mississippi State basketball season was on the brink of a total collapse in the last three minutes against Florida, but the Bulldogs rallied to win the game.

When the Mississippi State basketball team entered the SEC portion of the schedule, many thought the Bulldogs would be able to get off to a strong start in their first four games. The Bulldogs were going to be favored to win each of those games, and there was hope the team could travel to Kentucky on January 22nd with a 4-0 record in SEC play.

But two disappointing losses by the Mississippi State basketball team to the South Carolina Gamecocks and Ole Miss Rebels left the team reeling. The game on Tuesday night against the Florida Gators was as close to a must win as you can get for January 15th.

And in Tuesday night’s game against Florida, things looked bleak. The Mississippi State basketball team found themselves staring down a five point deficit with two minutes and 55 seconds to play. Losing to Florida might have sent the season to a spot where it simply couldn’t be recovered with four of the next five games on the road.

But at least for one night, the Mississippi State basketball team pulled together and finished the game with a flourish. After Florida’s KeVaughn Allen made a three pointer to put the Gators up by a score of 66-61, the Bulldogs senior leadership took over the game.

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Aric Holman would answer Allen’s three pointer with one of his own to cut the lead back down to two. On the next possession, Quinndary Weatherspoon was able to work his way to the basket for a lay up after a nice assist from Lamar Peters. Weatherspoon and Holman would team up to give the Bulldogs the lead 68-66 on their next possession when Weatherspoon was able to create space and dished to Holman for another layup.

On Florida’s next possession, it looked like the Mississippi State basketball team had sealed the victory when Abdul Ado blocked a three point attempt. As the ball was going out of bounds, sophomore Nick Weatherspoon saved the ball to Aric Holman under the basket, but a Florida defender was able to knock the ball loose and get an easy lay in to tie the game with 10 seconds left.

Mississippi State basketball head coach Ben Howland then called timeout and drew up a play for either Peters or Quinndary Wetherspoon. Peters would defer to Weatherspoon, and Weatherspoon drove the length of the floor for a lay up while also drawing a foul. He hit the free throw and sealed the win.

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This might be the stretch of basketball we look back on at the end of the 2018-19 season as the one that saved the season. Optimism would be hard to come by had the Bulldogs let this one get away from them. But they did get the win, and you hope as fans the team now has the confidence they need to go to Nashville on Saturday and even up their record.