Well, that's that.
The 2012 Mississippi State basketball season came to a fizzling end today at Humphrey Coliseum (attendance: a season-low 2,507). UMass came away with a 101-96 double-overtime win, and I'll get to some numbers, but that's not what this post is going to be about.
MSU (21-12) at one time was figured for a Sweet 16 team. Instead, it finds itself out of the NIT after a single game.
"It wasn't no chemistry issues," senior Brian Bryant said, "it's just we didn't come to play every game like we did against the Baylors and the Kentuckys. We didn't come to play like that when we had to play lower-level teams."
MSU lost seven of its last nine games, including a first-round exit in the SEC Tournament to Georgia. That skid knocked State out of the NCAA tournament. Bryant said the disappointment of not getting a bid carried over to the game.
I spoke with him and freshman Rodney Hood in the locker room. We got Rick Stansbury, senior Dee Bost and junior Arnett Moultrie in the postgame press conference. Renardo Sidney ducked out of the locker room – it was open since this is an NCAA-sanctioned event – before the media got there.
He then tweeted, "I'm out!!" That's a bit cryptic, but it's no secret Sidney might leave before his senior season. Heck, he sat out the last 23 minutes, 51 seconds of the game, and MSU's rally began the moment he hit the bench.
Will Moultrie be back?
"I have a timetable, the next few weeks or so," he said. "If I do come back, it would be to play with Hood for another year."
What about Stansbury's future?
"I haven't given any thought," he said. "I think you know this, what we've done through 14 years speaks for itself. That's all I can say about it. Naturally, we didn't win as much as I want to win. Even with that, we found a way to do what we did. Anything short of winning a championship here, that's a disappointing year for me, too."
I've got a lot of coverage in tomorrow's paper, including some thoughts from Hood. I also have video (CLICK HERE). He said character was part of the problem with this team.
"It didn't start in November, it started during the summer. We've just got to go back and correct it," Hood said.
This was an odd atmosphere. The crowd was small. MSU appeared to have no enthusiasm in the first half. And immediately after the game, I tried to catch up with athletics director Scott Stricklin, who said earlier today that he wouldn't talk about Stansbury and his future until after the season.
Stricklin got away before I could reach him.
OK, to the numbers. Moultrie scored a career-high 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting. Bost had 20 points and 13 assists. Jalen Steele scored 17 points and hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in the first OT. Bryant had 12 points.
MSU shot 42.7 percent overall, 38.7 percent from deep. It made 20 of 25 free throws.
UMass shot 43.3 percent, out-rebounded State 56-41 (including 21-10 on the offensive glass), and scored 24 second-chance points. The smaller Minutemen out-scored MSU in the paint 54-40.
Point guard Chaz Williams had 28 points, while Sean Carter had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Terrell Vinson had 12 points, while Raphiael Putney had 10 points and 16 boards.
OK, time to record a radio show. Stay tuned for that at 7 a.m. tomorrow on BulldogSportsRadio.com. Oughta be interesting.