Wrapped it in Maroon and White! Mississippi State defeats Florida 69-68 in an overtime thriller

For a team fighting for their NCAA Tournament life, Mississippi State came out on Thursday afternoon with something to show as they went against the Flordia Gators on Thursday at the 2023 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Not sure what happened, but in the first half, Mississippi State was the aggressor. Mississippi State came out in the first half, throwing the first punch, and seemingly was on its way to an easy win over Florida. At the break, Mississippi State held a ten-point 36-26 lead over the Gators. Mississippi State did it by outrebounding the Gators 23-14.

However, something happened in the second half, and Mississippi State let its foot off the throttle, leaving the door wide open for Florida. Florida quickly chipped away at the lead, creating a tense environment inside Bridgestone Arena for the entirety of the second half. At the final media timeout of the second half, Mississippi State held on to a two-point lead over the pesky Gators. Florida would tie the game at 57 with 36.3 seconds remaining behind a Myreon Jones three-pointer. Jones’s three-point shot would be the shot that sent the game to overtime. For some weird reason, Chris Jans would pull Tolu Smith in the closing seconds of regulations despite having 24 points and only three fouls.

In overtime, the Mississippi State Bulldogs would eventually pull away and earn a date with Alabama on Friday. With an emphatic dunk from Shawn Jones JR to push the Mississippi State lead over Florida to 64-59 with 2:12 remaining. Florida would respond with three straight baskets to further stretch the Bulldogs to dig deeper to earn the Thursday win. With 25.5 seconds remaining, Mississippi State held a 67-65 lead over the Gators, with Florida heading to the line with a chance to cut the lead to one. Florida would make the free throw, and Mississippi State would turn the ball over, leading to a Gators basket to take the lead with 10 seconds remaining. Tolu Smith would touch the ball and lay it up for the Bulldogs to make it 69-68 Mississippi State with 4.3 seconds. Florida would miss a shot at the buzzer, and Mississippi State advances to Friday, where they will play Alabama.

Mississippi State and Alabama will be the first game on Friday with a noon tip.

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