March 14, 2009

Bulldogs advance to SEC Tournament Championship

TAMPA, Fla., - The magical run through the Southeastern Conference Tournament for Mississippi State will continue.

The Bulldogs took down top-seeded LSU 67-57 on Saturday to win their third consecutive game during the SEC Tournament and will now have the opportunity for a shot in the championship game on Sunday.

"I thought its was two really good basketball teams going at it," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "I'm not for sure either one of us were as good as we want to be offensively. But think give each team some defensive credit. No question LSU's been one of the best defensive teams all year long and I've been saying from day one since being here (in Tampa) the first game, our team continues to get better defending and rebounding."

MSU lost both regular season games to the Tigers but were able to take down the overall SEC Champions to improve to 22-12 overall this season. They have also won five straight games in the month of March.

The Bulldogs shot 33.3-percent on the afternoon but were not hitting from the outside. State made just 3-of-16 from behind the arc but were able to get it done from the free throw line converting 24-of-35 from the charity stripe.

Jarvis Varnado got things done inside for the Bulldogs. Varnado led all scorers with 19 points and also pulled down seven rebounds and swatted away seven shots.

"The thing I think is continuing to make him better is his effort," Stansbury said. "He attacks every rebound. He's really active. I see a little bit of that in him right now."

With his seven blocks, Varnado now holds the single-season blocks record with 159 breaking the mark he tied last year with Shaquille O'Neal.



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