SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Mississippi State missed a pair of shots in the final seconds to drop a 74-72 heartbreaker to Texas Tech on the second day of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic.
Putting together one of its best efforts of the young season, the Bulldogs rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to grab a pair of second-half leads. In the end, the Bulldogs could not protect a four-point lead over the final 5:19.
Malik Newman had his best night as a Bulldog with a season-high 17 points on a 6 of 17 night from the field. Newman had five rebounds and four assists in a season-high 31 minutes. Gavin Ware added 15 points, while I.J. Ready had 11 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon added 10 points.
An 8-0 run midway through the first half allowed the Bulldogs (1-3) to open a 22-15 advantage. Three-point baskets by Ready and Johnny Zuppardo were the highlights of the early offensive success.
The Red Raiders took better care of the basketball and churned ahead for a 23-22 advantage. Some offensive struggles down the stretch hurt the Bulldogs dearly as they fell behind 41-32 at the half, thanks in large part to a 12-0 run.
Texas Tech (2-1) scored the first basket of the second half before the Bulldogs rallied. Behind the strong offensive performance of Newman and the inside presence of Ware, the Bulldogs eventually got back into the contest.
A jumper by Weatherspoon had the Bulldogs within 52-48 with 14:28 left. A 3-pointer by Ready had the lead trimmed to 59-58 with 8:58 left. The Bulldogs finally pulled even on a 3-point play by Newman at 61-61 with 7:39 left.
A 3-point play by Ware pushed the lead to 68-64 but the Bulldogs could not close out the win.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 27 of 61 shots from the field (44.3 percent), 8 of 27 shots from 3-point range (29.6 percent) and 10 of 14 shots from the foul line (71.4 percent). The Red Raiders hit 26 of 60 shots from the field (43.3 percent), 4 of 18 shots from 3-point range (22.2 percent) and 18 of 23 shots from the foul line (78.3 percent).
MSU held a 37-36 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 11 assists and 14 turnovers, while the Red Raiders had 10 assists and 10 turnovers.
Texas Tech received 15 points from Devaugntah Williams, 13 points from Keenan Evans, 12 points from Zach Smith and 11 points from Toddrick Gotcher.
MSU will face Missouri State in the seventh place of the game event Sunday.
(From MSU Media Relations)