Lamar Peters made a layup with 8:07 remaining in the second half to push the Mississippi State Bulldogs’ lead to 10 over the Liberty Flames. It seemed that the Bulldogs were destined to win their first NCAA Tournament game since 2008.
Unfortunately for Peters, Quinndary Weatherspoon and the rest of the squad, things unraveled. After that layup to make it 63-53 Mississippi State, the Flames would outscore the Bulldogs 27-13 to win 80-76 in one of the few dramatic upsets in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Spearheading the comeback efforts for the Flames were the likes of Caleb Homesley, Myo Baxter-Bell and Lovell Cabbil Jr. They were responsible for 26 of the final 27 points scored by the Flames, with Darius McGhee making a one-point cameo in the midst of the furious rally. They hit four 3-pointers in the run and sunk 13 free throws along the way too.
Liberty very much finished the game strong, as they sunk five of their last seven shots from the floor. State, meanwhile, went ice cold, as they converted on just one of their last 11 shots from the field.
The loss did in what was a terrific effort by Peters and Quinndary Weatherspoon. The two combined for 48 of Mississippi State’s 76 points, including 27 from Quinndary. He shot 6-for-12 from the free throw line and ate at the FT line, going 13-for-16. Peters was 8-for-14 from the field and 4-for-8 from 3-point land. Robert Woodard II got into double figures as well with 13 points on a 5-for-7 mark from the field. Unfortunately, those woes from the floor sealed up a devastating loss for the Bulldogs.
This was obviously a dissatisfying end to what was a great season for Mississippi State. The team made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years, and if not for a magnificent collapse, they would have won their first NCAA Tournament game in 11 years.
The roster composition certainly gives way to the school of thought that this team will be ready to roll again next season. Assuming there are no other departures, only Quinndary Weatherspoon and Aric Holman are set to leave via graduation. Otherwise, they will still have Peters, Reggie Perry, Tyson Carter and Robert Woodard along with Nick Weatherspoon and Abdul Ado.
But obviously, this will be a bitter pill to swallow for State fans over the next few months.