NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Visiting Mississippi State shot 60.8 percent from the floor and escaped with an 84-81 victory over Vanderbilt at Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Commodores trailed by 10 late before a surge got them within 71-67. Dylan Disu then hit a 3 with six seconds to play to get it all the way down to a one-point game at 82-81.
Vanderbilt got the ball back down 83-81 and had a final shot for a tie or the win, but turned the ball over in the backcourt. Cameron Matthews hit one of two free throws to seal the victory for the Bulldogs.
Scotty Pippen Jr. led the Commodores with 18 points and 12 assists. He became the first Vanderbilt player to record a double-double of points and assists since Wade Baldwin did so Dec. 30, 2015 against Western Michigan (15 points, 10 rebounds).
Pippen’s 12 assists was the most by a Commodore in a single game since Mario Moore had 13 against Arkansas on Feb. 19, 2005.
The Commodores (4-5, 0-3 SEC) are next scheduled to travel to No. 13 Missouri (7-2, 1-2 SEC) at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
On Saturday, Vanderbilt had good vibes early and jumped out to a 14-8 lead on a Thomas triple and then 22-15 on a Pippen 3 from the right wing. Mississippi State answered with an 8-0 run that included back-to-back 3s from Jalen Johnson.
The Bulldogs then edged ahead 32-27 on a Iverson Molinar 3 and Tolu Smith bucket from inside the paint. Molinar’s layup a few minutes later made it 36-30.
Vandy scored five in a row and had two a few chances to take the lead on the final possession of the half, but couldn’t get the ball to drop.
The Commodores had nine offensive rebounds in the first half while shooting 31.4 percent from the field. They made seven 3s while trying to keep up with Mississippi State’s 62.5 percent shooting clip from the field.
Mississippi State made eight of its first 10 shots in the second half and had a 57-48 lead after Quinten Post’s 3 from the top of the key. A pull-up jumper by Deivon Smith with 11 minutes remaining gave the Bulldogs a 61-50 margin.
Smith’s putback with 6:00 to go, however, put the Bulldogs up 69-61. A pair of Mississippi State free throws upped the margin to 71-61 and set up the final 4:56 of the game.
Molinar had 24 points and eight rebounds for Mississippi State (8-4, 3-1 SEC). The Bulldogs outscored Vandy in the paint 42-18.