STARKVILLE, Miss. — Vanderbilt junior Scotty Pippen Jr. poured in 32 points, but the Commodores couldn’t control Mississippi State’s inside game and lost 74-69 at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.
The Bulldogs scored 32 points in the paint and led for the final 12:43 of the game. Vandy (14-14, 6-10 SEC) clawed to within two points three times in the final 3:22 before Mississippi State closed out the final seconds.
Vanderbilt returns to Memorial Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to its regular-season home finale, facing Florida (18-11, 8-8 SEC).
Vandy’s comeback attempt Saturday began just two ticks under the 6-minute mark when Pippen came off a curl and buried a left-corner 3, making it a 59-54 score. Millora-Brown’s layup one minute later brought the Dores to 60-56.
Another 3 from Pippen, this one at the top of the key, cut the score to 62-59 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining, and Millora-Brown’s layup off a Pippen assist had the Dores down just two at the 3:22 mark. But the Bulldogs wouldn’t allow Vandy to get any closer, answering on the offensive end and making just enough free throws to pull out the victory.
Tolu Smith scored 22 to lead Mississippi State (17-12, 8-8 SEC), and Iverson Molinar finished with 20.
Vanderbilt started the day ice cold from the field, missing eight of its first nine shots, and got in a 7-3 hole. Back-to-back buckets, however, from Millora-Brown and Pippen tied the game at 7.
Mississippi State went on an 8-0 run that was capped by Andersson Garcia’s one-handed, fast-break dunk. Vandy came right back with an 8-2 spurt and got to 17-15 on a Pippen layup after driving the right baseline.
Terren Frank’s triple from the right side had the Commodores down just 24-22 with five minutes to go in the half. Drew Weikert came off the bench and gave the Dores a 25-24 lead with a left-corner 3-pointer—and then a 27-26 lead with a layup.
Vandy scored the final five of the period and took a 32-30 advantage into the break. The Commodores registered 10 assists on 12 buckets and fought through 11 turnovers.
The Bulldogs surged ahead early in the second half thanks to a three-point play from Molinar. Pippen scored seven straight from there to give the visitors a 44-41 edge.
Mississippi State put together a 11-0 run to go up 52-44 with 10:33 to go. A Molinar runner from the right side gave the Bulldogs a 56-46 lead as the clock crept toward the 9-minute mark.
That margin was too much for Vanderbilt to overcome.
- Weikert scored a career-high seven points Saturday.
- With 32 points Tuesday, Pippen Jr. (1,406) passed Kevin Anglin (1,359) and Bobby Thym (1,403) to move into 18th on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list. Scott Druad (1,466) is 17th.
- Pippen Jr. now has the fourth-most made free throws (446) in Vanderbilt history. Jeffery Taylor is third with 452.
- Pippen Jr. has 565 points this season, the seventh-most in a single junior season in Vanderbilt history. Jeff Fosnes is sixth with 575.
- Wright has now started 33 straight games for Vanderbilt.
- Trey Thomas has now played in 53 straight games for the Commodores.
- Vanderbilt is now 12-4 this season when leading at halftime and 13-6 when shooting at least 40 percent.
- The Commodores are now 80-53 all-time against the Bulldogs and 23-37 as the visiting team.
- Attendance on Saturday was announced as 6,829.