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DALLAS, Tex. – Mississippi State came up on the wrong end of a defensive struggle at the American Airlines Center.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs held No. 6 Baylor to 21 percent shooting in the second half but could not pull the upset, falling 54-52 in the second contest at The Showcase Wednesday night.

With the defeat, the Bulldogs saw an 11-game win streak snapped, while falling to 12-2. Baylor continued the best start in school history, while improving to 13-0.

                “Good games always come down to a play here or there,” MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “That is what this game came down to. We missed some shots and left too many free throws on the line. We also turned the ball over some at critical times.
                “However, that is part of the game. Those are the kind of things that you can correct and get better at. It was not because of a lack of effort. We really fought tonight. We played a great basketball team down to the final possession of the game.”

The contest featured two Top 15 teams definitely showing their mettle to a national television audience. The score was tied eight times and the lead changed hands nine times. Baylor led by as many as six in the first half, while MSU led by four on numerous occasions in the second half.

 Still, the contest swung in the closing minutes. Playing only 19 minutes due to heavy foul trouble, Renardo Sidney drew his fifth and final foul and a technical on the same possession. Down 52-50, Baylor’s Quincy Miller hit one of two foul shots, while Quincy Acy also hit one of two foul shots to tie the game with 1:35 remaining.

The Bulldogs did rebound the second free throw miss, but could not answer with Dee Bost missing on the offensive end. After a rebound by Perry Jones III, the Bears worked the ball inside with Pierre Jackson hitting the game-winning layup with 28 seconds left.

On the other offensive end, the Bulldogs tried to answer but Rodney Hood’s off-balance jumper was partially deflected in the closing seconds.

In the opening half, the Bears scored six straight points to build a 14-9 lead. MSU answered with the game’s next eight points. A Jalen Steele 3-point basket placed the Maroon and White on top, 17-14.

Baylor quickly answered with defensive pressure fueling a 10-2 run for a 24-19 lead. The Bears would stretch that lead to a game’s-best six points, at 27-21 with 4:38 left before the half.

The Bulldogs closed within 34-33 at the intermission.

Behind a great defensive effort, the Bulldogs had the better of things for most of the second half. The Bears were held to 20 points and six total field goals in the game’s final half. Once MSU grabbed a 38-36 lead, the Bulldogs did not trail again until Jackson’s lay-up in the closing half-minute.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 22 of 54 shots from the field (40.7 percent), 5 of 17 shots from 3-point range (29.4 percent) and 3 of 7 shots at the foul line (42.9 percent). The Bears hit 19 of 55 shots from the field (34.5 percent), 5 of 17 shots from 3-point range (29.4 percent) and 11 of 17 shots from the foul line (64.7 percent).

Baylor held a 40-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 12 assists and 14 turnovers, while the Bears had eight assists and 15 turnovers.

Steele and Sidney led the Bulldogs with 10 points apiece. Arnett Moultrie just missed another double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds. Bost had nine points and five assists, while Sidney also had a pair of blocks.

Baylor received 12 points from Miller and 11 points from Brady Heslip.



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