By David Brandt/The Associated Press
STARKVILLE — Craig Sword scored 18 points, Roquez Johnson added 14 and Mississippi State edged South Carolina 56-54 on Wednesday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Mississippi State (6-7) first-year coach Rick Ray won his SEC debut. Sword shot 6 of 11 from the field and had a dunk with 26 seconds left that provided enough separation for the victory.
South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington and Brian Richardson both missed 3-pointers in the final seconds. The Gamecocks (10-4) couldn’t overcome 24 turnovers. Richardson led South Carolina with 20 points.
The Gamecocks took a 50-44 lead with 5:25 remaining, but the Bulldogs responded with an 8-0 run that provided the momentum to get the win.
Mississippi State won despite missing all 10 of its 3-point attempts. The Gamecocks were 8 of 21 from long range.