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No. 17 South Carolina beats Mississippi St 93-89 in OT to finish impressive regular season

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — B.J. Mack had 25 points and Collin Murray-Boyles scored 19 to lead No. 17 South Carolina to a 93-89 overtime victory against Mississippi State on Saturday.

The Gamecocks (25-6, 13-5 Southeastern Conference) finished off the regular season with one of the best turnarounds in college basketball. They were 4-14 in the conference and 11-21 overall a year ago.

“They told me this was the most regular-season wins in school history,” coach Lamont Paris said. “We finished tied for second place and there is a lot of pride in this group. We played with a chip on our shoulders all season and one day they are going to say these guys are good. Maybe they will say it today and I am just so proud of these guys.”

Mack had seven points in overtime for South Carolina, which improved to 2-0 this season in overtime games. Meechie Johnson had 16 points.

Freshman Josh Hubbard had 28 points for the Bulldogs (19-12, 8-10), who dropped their fourth straight game. Cameron Matthews had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Mississippi State. Dashawn Davis added 16 points and Tolu Smith had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.

In the closing seconds of regulation, Hubbard sank two free throws to tie the game at 75. Mack responded with two free throws of his own to give the Gamecocks a 77-75 advantage with 4.2 seconds remaining. Davis would make two free throws as well with 1.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

For the third straight game, Mississippi State had a slow start. South Carolina took a 17-8 lead after a Myles Stute 3-pointer with 12:48 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs kept chipping away and would tie the game at 27 with 5:14 left in the opening half. South Carolina eventually took a 38-37 advantage at halftime.

“The last three games have all been similar in the way they’ve unfolded from our perspective,” said Mississippi State coach Chris Jans. “Auburn, (Texas) A&M and tonight against South Carolina, the difference in the margin throughout the game wasn’t as big but that theme of playing from behind and just fighting uphill all night long was the same.”

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: The Gamecocks are riding high heading into the SEC Tournament and then March Madness.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs must now regroup for the conference tournament with their postseason hopes on the line.

UP NEXT

South Carolina: The Gamecocks open conference tournament play in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs face LSU on Thursday in the tournament.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball