DAYTON, Ohio — Mississippi State basketball’s return to March Madness was short-lived. MSU, in a thrilling game filled with runs, fell 60-59 against Pittsburgh on Tuesday in the First Four at University of Dayton Arena.
Mississippi State guard Shakeel Moore had an open look from beyond the arc with a chance to win the game in the final seconds. Forward D.J. Jeffries couldn’t get the tip-in to fall at the buzzer.
“It was a heck of a look,” Mississippi State coach Chris Jans said of Moore’s missed 3. “Fortunately we got it off quick enough where we had at least one tap at it. I don’t think the second one was probably in time, but at that point it’s all you can ask for, a chance – the ball is in the air – to win an NCAA Tournament game and still have enough time to get a putback.”
Jans’ first season at the helm ends in heartbreak with Mississippi State returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019 but failing to advance to the first round.
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Mississippi State’s hot start quickly cooled
Few would expect the nation’s worst 3-point shooting team to make an NCAA Tournament appearance, but it’s part of what has made MSU’s success all-the-more surprising this season. However, the game’s first five minutes sent a different message.
The Bulldogs made four of their first five attempts from deep to jump out to a 14-8 lead before the first media timeout. Jeffries, who made two of his last 20 shots from beyond the arc entering Tuesday, made a pair in that stretch.
However, the law of averages quickly took over. Mississippi State had a scoring drought last nearly six minutes after the hot start. The Bulldogs trailed 35-34 at halftime after missing nine of their last 10 attempts from deep.
Pittsburgh, the nation’s No. 79 3-point shooting team, was 8-of-13 (62%) in the first half.
“We showed toughness, resiliency,” Pitt coach Jeff…
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Author : USA TODAY Sports
Publish date : 2023-03-15 05:16:22
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