By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – With No. 20 Mississippi State trailing Georgia by two and 8.6 seconds left in overtime, point guard Dee Bost raced down court, expecting his coach to call a timeout. Rick Stansbury had plenty to spare, but he let chose not to use one.
Bost dribbled to the right wing and put up an off-balance, well-defended 3-pointer. It fell short as the final horn blared.
“I would’ve thought he was going to call a timeout, but I guess he just let us push it and try to catch them off guard,” Bost said.
Stansbury had no regrets about not calling timeout and setting up a play. He said he was wanting the Bulldogs to find a shot against Georgia’s transition defense instead of a set defense.
“Naturally if I thought we weren’t going to get no better shot than that, you do something different,” Stansbury said, “but I’d do that again.”
MSU had zero fast-break points against Georgia.
Entering Saturday’sgame, MSU ranked first in the SEC in defensive rebounding percentage (72.6), while Georgia was last in offensive rebounding percentage (30.5).
Yet Georgia not only out-rebounded MSU, 40-33, it dominated on the offensive glass, 18-7. It was Georgia’s highest offensive rebounding total in SEC play this season.
Four players had five or more rebounds, led by Marcus Thornton’s nine.
“It’s not like we had one player dominate on the glass, but we had a lot of guys chip in on the boards,” coach Mark Fox said.
Georgia’s board work led to 14 second-chance points.
Renardo Sidney had 12 rebounds to lead State, but SEC-leading rebounder Arnett Moultrie had just six, three of them offensive.
RPI takes a hit
Saturday’s loss was MSU’s first when leading at halftime, and it’s now 17-1 in such situations. The Bulldogs finished their three-game homestand 2-1, and they’ve been unable to win more than two in a row in SEC play.
Coming up this week are road games versus LSU and Auburn. State has defeated both of those teams at home this season – by a combined eight points. State is 1-3 on the SEC road.
Its RPI rank fell 13 spots to 45th after the loss, which has put a big dent in the Bulldogs’ postseason résumé.
“You’ve got six games left. You’ve got to go somewhere and try to make it up,” Stansbury said. “That’s what it is. It’s one game, it’s one loss, got to find a way to make it up somewhere now.”