In a record crowd of 10,794 at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS, #2 Mississippi State and #7 South Carolina faced off in an battle.
In a rematch of last season’s national championship game, the Bulldogs defeated the defending national champions, Gamecocks 67-53.
The Bulldogs erased a 12-point second quarter deficit to take its first victory in the series since 2010. MSU continues the best start in program history by moving to 24-0 overall, 10-0 in SEC conference play and 13-0 at home.
MSU and UConn remain the final two undefeated teams in Division I basketball. “I would like to praise our fan base tonight,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “We don’t win that game if we are not at home. Our fans were spectacular. What an environment for both sets of student-athletes. Most nights it’s loud in there but tonight was special. As a coach, I really appreciate that. Tonight, was special. To have the game sold out two weeks in advance is special.
“We didn’t start the game well. South Carolina punched first and second. We were not engaged offensively or defensively to start the game. To lock in and allow eight points (in the second quarter) and nine points (in the fourth quarter) was special. This game was about toughness. I don’t know if we out-toughed them, but we certainly were even with them in the toughness category.”
Here is the video below of MSU head coach, Vic Schaefer thanking the Mississippi State fans:
— MSU W. Basketball (@HailStateWBK) February 6, 2018
This was Mississippi State “white-out” game and the first 5,000 fans were treated to t-shirts that stated “Make Noise” with the M-State logo in the middle. The shirt is an Adidas special for the Bulldogs and is now on pre-order for the Mississippi State fans on Adidas.com. The atmosphere was electric in Humphrey Coliseum last night.
Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs with 24 points, while Blair Schaefer added 14 points-all in the second half. Teaira McCowan barely missed a double-double with nine points and a game-high 20 rebounds.
McCowan’s rebound total for the year eclipsed 318, breaking MSU’s single-season rebounding record previously set by Martha Alwal during the 2013-14 season.
In a season-high 29 minutes of action, Chloe Bibby added seven points, three rebounds and also contributed on the defensive end, helping guard South Carolina All-American A’Ja Wilson.
“Jazzmun (Holmes) came in in the second quarter and really gave us a big lift on both ends of the floor,” Schaefer said. “She really gave us a toughness factor. On the defensive end, she was great. On offense, she gave us a spark. Chloe Bibby really gave us some great minutes. She has been in our system for five months, so she is still learning. I am proud of the competitive spirit and the toughness.”
For the contest, MSU hit 22 of 60 shots from the field (36.7 percent), 6 of 14 shots from 3-point range (42.9 percent) and 17 of 23 shots from the foul line (73.9 percent). South Carolina hit 20 of 53 shots from the field (37.7 percent), 3 of 9 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 10 of 17 shots from the foul line (58.8 percent).
MSU held a 40-36 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 10 assists and eight turnovers, while the Gamecocks had five assists and 17 turnovers.
South Carolina received 25 points from Wilson and 10 points from Doniyah Cliney. Wilson had a team-high 14 rebounds.
MSU will return to the road for a 6 p.m. CT start Thursday at Florida. That contest will be available nationally on SEC Network +.