By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Phil Turner is no longer a starter, but he still plays like one in crunch time.
In Saturday’s 72-69 comeback win against Georgia, Turner made two big steals, both of which led to MSU buckets. His two free throws with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left gave State a 68-67 lead and capped a 14-0 run.
“We needed a burst of energy at that time,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “We were down 13 with 4:16 to go. Most teams, you’re dead in the water.”
Turner woke up the Bulldogs, who hit just 25.8 percent from 3-point range. His defense led to easy offense, and – as has been the case on many occasions this season – his energy permeated the rest of the team.
“I’m not taking any credit, but I think I’m a very spiritual person; I’m giving all the credit to God for helping me through a couple of hard times through the season,” Turner said. “I just tried to stay focused and stay positive and do a little bit extra and just work a little bit harder, so when my opportunity came that I could show again why I feel I can help us win basketball games.”
– MSU entered this game second in the SEC in rebounding margin, at plus-8.2 per game.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs lost that battle, 47-33.
In the first half alone, Georgia had 27 rebounds, 13 of them on the offensive end.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever had a team whip us like that,” Stansbury said.
MSU won that battle in the second half, though, 23-20.
Close call at end
– Junior Ravern Johnson had a chance to seal the game with 10.8 seconds left, but he missed two free throws. Stansbury wanted to foul Georgia, but Dustin Ware got off a clean shot from 3-point range.
Fortunately, it spun out as time expired.
– “You can never quit believing. Four minutes to go is a world of time.” – MSU coach Rick Stansbury