Mississippi State holds off Florida State 62-55
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Mississippi State got a season-high 14 points from I.J. Ready and held off Florida State 62-55 Friday night in the final non-conference outing for both teams.
The Bulldogs (7-6) held a 54-53 lead with 1:07 and closed out the game on an 8-2 run.
Mississippi State got 12 points from Travis Daniels and 10 points from Gavin Ware.
Devon Bookert led the Seminoles (8-5) with 16 points as Florida State had its four-game winning streak snapped.
''I put up on the board here before our guys came out on the floor and it said `perception vs. reality','' Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray said. ''The perception is we are a really bad basketball teams and most Power 5 teams go into conference play with a 10-4 or 11-3 or 12-3 record or whatever. But the reality is we are a good basketball team and we have to display that every time. ''This is Florida State team coming off a quality win against Florida. But we spent a lot of time fixing ourselves and didn't spend as much time on the Florida State scouting. So I am just proud of our guys for the win. We needed that win and Bulldog nation needed that win.''
The first half featured runs by both teams, including a 10-4 start to open the game by the Bulldogs. Florida State answered with a 7-0 run as the Seminoles took their first lead of the game at 11-10 mid-way through the first half.
Florida State had the last run of the first half and used a 9-0 spurt to take a 25-22 halftime advantage. The Seminoles shot 4-of-6 beyond the arc in the first half while Mississippi State was just 1-of-9.
Both teams had nine turnovers in the first half while neither team shot particularly well from the floor. Mississippi State shot just 38 percent from the floor in the first half while the Seminoles were a tad better at 42 percent.
The game was tied at 49-49 with 5:01 remaining. Mississippi State grabbed the lead back at 51-49 with a pair of Craig Sword free throws and never trailed again. Overall, the game featured 14 lead changes and three ties.''I don't think the down-the-stretch bothered me,'' said Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. ''It was the fact they played with so much more of a sense of urgency than us from the beginning of the game. It was them that played like their backs were against the wall and we allowed them to make this a more important game to them than it was for us. And it had been our team playing with that sense of urgency.''
Mississippi State did find an offensive rhythm in the second half and shot 53.8 percent. The Bulldogs finished with 46.2 percent for the game but were just 2-of-14 from three-point territory. The Bulldogs also out-scored Florida State 40-26 in the paint and 24-6 with bench points.
''We just got the points in the paint and ended up with 40 points in the game,'' said Ray. ''They had 26 points (in the paint) on a team with three seven-footers. Another factor was our bench points and the last thing that stood out was, statistically, in the second half we only had three turnovers and made all of our free throws.''
The Bulldogs, however, were 12-of-13 from the free throw line while the Seminoles managed just 11-of-19.
Mississippi State: Friday's meeting with Florida State was the Bulldogs' first meeting with the Seminoles since winning in Starkville in the 2007 NIT quarter-finals. ... Junior center Gavin Ware returned to action for the first time in three games and returned from an ankle injury.
Florida State: The Seminoles were just the third Power 5 school not in the SEC to play in Starkville since 2012, joining West Virginia and TCU. ... Florida State assistant Stan Jones also spent time on the Mississippi State staff back in the 1990s.
Mississippi State hosts Tennessee Wednesday in both teams' SEC opener.
Florida State hosts Virginia Tech Tuesday in both teams' SEC opener.