COSTAMASNAGA, Italy – Young, yet resilient. Young, yet tough. Young, yet confident.
Oh, and talented, too.
Once again the Mississippi State freshmen put on a show, this time against the Kosovo National Team Friday afternoon as the Bulldogs concluded their four-game Italian tour with an impressive 91-87 win in overtime.
They’ll return home on Sunday 4-0, but more importantly they will return home with experience and far more chemistry. And for a freshman-laden team, that is key.
Both those factors proved pivotal against Kosovo as the freshmen accounted for 74 points and countless big plays at critical junctures of the game.
Eli Wright led the way with 22 points, followed by Tyson Carter and Schnider Herard with 19 and 17, respectively. Lamar Peters had 12 points in addition to his seven assists and two steals.
For Carter, no points were bigger than his last two, when he drained a pull-up jumper with 30 seconds remaining in overtime to give Mississippi State an 89-87 lead, one it wouldn’t relinquish.
“It was a back-and-forth game, but in overtime we started to pick it up,” said Carter, who also had eight rebounds. “At the end, I looked up and saw there was just six seconds on the shot clock. I wanted to create some space to get open for the shot. Fortunately, it went in”
But to seal the victory, it was Quinndary Weatherspoon coming up with a big steal and then dishing it to Wright for the final points of the game.
Weatherspoon, despite stomach issues, poured in 13 points to go along with his six assists and two steals.
“I thought we did a great job of handling adversity today,” MSU coach Ben Howland said. “We fell behind several times, but we kept gutting it up and coming back to take the lead. They took the lead in overtime, but again we found a way.
“I thought Lamar masterfully handled the ball and ran the offense for us. He made a lot of great passes, as he has the last three games. And this was Schnider Herard’s best game. And I thought Eli gave us a lot of great minutes. He really played tough for us.
“I thought Q showed us a lot of heart. He wasn’t at full strength and hadn’t been feeling well. He had a big steal in overtime. And Tyson again made huge, timely shots. He’s a big-time shooter.”
In the first half, MSU twice trailed by seven points but rallied to go up 43-38 at the break.
(From MSU Media Relations)