Feb. 29, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Mississippi State's Brian Bryant hit a lay-up at the buzzer in overtime to lead the Bulldogs to a 69-67 victory over South Carolina in the final home game of the season for the Gamecocks.
Damontre Harris had his second double-double this season for the Gamecocks (10-19, 2-13 SEC) with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Bruce Ellington scored a game-high 17 points, and lone senior Malik Cooke added 11 points on Senior Night. Two Mississippi State (20-10, 7-8 SEC) forwards had double-doubles with Arnett Moultrie posting 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Renardo Sidney scoring 12 points with 14 rebounds. Wednesday's game marked the first overtime contest of the season for South Carolina. The game also marked the first carbon neutral basketball game at Colonial Life Arena, an imitative spearheaded by South Carolina students and cross country athletes Erin Fedewa and Nicole Rheinlander.
Trailing 33-26 at the half, South Carolina quickly fought back with an 8-2 run to start the second half to cut the score to within one point. The Gamecocks reclaimed the lead for the first time since midway through the first half with an Eric Smith lay-up with 13:07 remaining in the game to put Carolina ahead 42-41. The two teams proceeded to trade possessions until a successive pair of Damien Leonard 3's put the Gamecocks ahead 48-46, sending the Colonial Life Arena crowd into a frenzy.
With neither team able to hold onto a lead, Ellington hit a 3 from the top of the key with 3:08 remaining to put the Gamecocks up, 56-55. On Mississippi State's next possession, Damien Leonard forced Jalen Steele to miss a jumper with the shot clock expiring, and Harris's dunk in the final 70 seconds gave the Gamecocks a three-point cushion.
Not ready to concede defeat, the Bulldogs tied the game at 58-58 courtesy of a three-point play from Moultrie, and matching free throws by Carolina's Anthony Gill and Mississippi State's Moultrie knotted the game at 60-60 with 11 seconds remaining.
Ellington took the ball on the final possession of regulation and narrowly missed a fade-away in the lane at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
Sidney gave the Bulldogs at 67-65 lead with 47 seconds remaining in overtime but could not convert the free throw, allowing Gill to tie the game with 13 seconds left on a tip-in. On the next possession, Ellington stole the ball from Bulldog guard Dee Bost with 1.4 seconds remaining, but stepped out of bounds on the endline to give the Bulldogs a final play.
Bost took the inbounds pass and found Brian Bryant for a lay-up at the buzzer to give Mississippi State the 69-67 victory.
South Carolina concludes the 2011-12 regular season on Saturday with a visit to Georgia. Tip-off between the Gamecock and Bulldogs is scheduled for 1:47 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
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