NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tolu Smith scored a career-high 28 points, including a go-ahead basket in overtime with 4.3 seconds left, and Mississippi State beat Florida 69-68 on Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
Mississippi State (21-11) advances to play top-seeded Alabama in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Smith started overtime with a three-point play and Cameron Matthews dunked it on Mississippi State’s next possession. Dashawn Davis had his second straight assist that led to a dunk when he lobbed it for Shawn Jones Jr. for a highlight finish and a 64-59 lead. Florida missed a 3-pointer and Smith extended the lead to seven points with a shot in the lane, off another assist by Davis.
Florida freshman Riley Kugel made a 3-pointer with 37.1 seconds left to pull within 67-64 and Mississippi State turned it over near midcourt before Kugel was fouled on a drive. Kugel made two free throws, the Bulldogs turned it over again and Niels Lane scored with 11.8 left to give Florida a 68-67 lead.
Mississippi State elected not to call a timeout and Davis drove the lane to find Smith open for a basket. The Bulldogs called a timeout to set up their defense. Florida guard Myreon Jones inbounded it and got it back but his long 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.
Shakeel Moore scored 12 points of his 13 points in the first half for Mississippi State. Davis added nine rebounds and eight assists. Smith also grabbed 12 rebounds and went 10 of 17 from the free-throw line.
Kugel finished with 14 points for Florida (16-16). Jones was held scoreless in the first half and finished with 11 points. Kowacie Reeves also scored 11 points.
Florida scored the final six points of regulation on 3-pointers by Jones, who had a chance to win it at the buzzer but his 3 came up short.
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