#14 seeded Mississippi State ended a 13-game losing streak and delivered #11 seeded Vanderbilt an early exit from the SEC tournament when the Bulldogs topped the Commodores 82-68. Led by Craig Sword who had a team-high 20 points, Mississippi State led by just five heading into the locker room at the half.
Vanderbilt went over 5 minutes without a field goal to start the second half. Damian Jones had 16 points and two blocks and both Rod Odom and Dai Jon Parker each had 15, it was not enough to pull out the win, leaving Vanderbilt without an SEC tournament win for the first time in four years. Odom also led the ‘Dores in assists and steals with 3 and 1 respectively.
While Sword lead the Bulldogs offense, Roquez Johnson was close behind putting up 18 points, and Fred Thomas had 16. Sword also led the Bulldogs in assists with 6, steals with 3 and blocks with one. This was just Mississippi’s fourth SEC win, beating Ole Miss Jan. 11 (76-72), Texas A&M Jan. 18 (81-72) and Auburn on Jan. 22 (82-74).
These two also met on February first, midway through Mississippi’s dry streak. The Commodores took that game 55-49.
Mississippi takes on in-state rival and #6 seed Ole Miss next. Per ESPN this will be only their second meeting in the SEC tournament. They defeated the Rebels 73-64 in the 2003 SEC tournament. Ole Miss had a first round bye; their last game was also against Vanderbilt- which they won 65-62. The two play Thursday with tip set at 9:25.