By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE –Vic Schaefer knew Mississippi State was going to be in for a long night when his team missed four shots on its opening possession.
Georgia stifled third-ranked MSU with its zone defense for over 31 minutes, and it wasn’t until the final 2:46 when the homestanding Bulldogs were able to take their first lead since the opening minutes as Ketara Chapel converted a traditional 3-point play.
That play sparked State to finish the game on a 13-3 run to complete the comeback and win 58-49 for its 13th consecutive home victory.
“Honestly I’m not sure how we won the game,” Schaefer said. “God presents challenges for us everyday and today was another one. … This team is not immune to having bad days, bad games, off days and off games.”
With its starters struggling, Mississippi State got a stellar game off the bench from both Chapel and Teaira McCowan. Chapel and McCowan led the team with 14 points apiece, with McCowan bringing down a game-high nine rebounds and Chapel grabbing seven boards.
Chapel’s point and rebound totals were season-highs.
“Katara wasn’t going to let us lose, and that’s what you’ve got to have,” Schaefer said. “(McCowan) fought all night. She had a tough match-up with a really good player (Mackenzie Engram) and in the second half did a really good job on her.”
Morgan William added 11 points for MSU while Victoria Vivians finished with 10 as State improved to 12-1 in the SEC and 26-1 overall. The 12 conference wins are the most in school history.
Mississippi State began the game 2 of 13 from the field in the first quarter as Georgia built an 11-6 lead. MSU was able to cut the deficit to 21-19 by halftime but still trailed 42-39 by the end of the third.
State shot 4 of 7 from the field in the fourth quarter and was 10 of 11 from the free throw line to outscore Georgia 19-7.
“I certainly would’ve been disappointed if we had come out here and not found a way to win,” Schaefer said.
“The fact that we found a way to win gives us confidence.”
Georgia (13-13, 5-8 SEC) shot 35.1 percent from the floor and was paced by Caliya Robinson with 13 points.
Mississippi State will play its next two games on the road beginning at No. 23 Texas A&M Sunday at 4 p.m. on SEC Network.
Ole Miss women win
The Ole Miss women’s basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak, beating Auburn 63-59 on Thursday night.
Shandricka Sesson scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Rebels (15-10, 5-8 SEC) to the homecourt victory.