Vols Beat Miss State 62-59 to Advance to SEC Tournament Semifinals
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Lamonte Turner scored 15 points and No. 13 Tennessee locked down on defense to beat Mississippi State 62-59 in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Friday night.
The second-seeded Volunteers (24-7) led nearly the entire game, but the Bulldogs (22-11) had an opportunity to take the lead in the final 10 seconds. Down 61-59, Xavian Stapleton missed a 3-pointer that would have put the Bulldogs ahead.
Tennessee struggled to put away Mississippi State at the end, missing a slew of free throws. The Volunteers finished 17 for 28 from the free-throw line, but outrebounded the Bulldogs 50-33 and notched 22 defensive boards.
Admiral Schofield scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Grant Williams finished with a double-double, notching 10 points and 11 boards.
Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 22 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 17 points. Weatherspoon’s brother, Nick, left the contest after Tennessee’s Kyle Alexander’s foot collided with his face as Alexander was contesting a fastbreak.
Weatherspoon was lying on the court and grabbing his hip underneath the Tennessee basket when he was stepped on by Alexander. Weatherspoon had fallen on the floor and injured his hip on the previous play.
Play was paused for about 10 minutes as trainers and medical staff assisted Weatherspoon. A courtside reporter on the SEC Network said Weatherspoon was conscious and responding to medical staff.
As Weatherspoon was loaded onto a stretcher, players from both Mississippi State and Tennessee came over to wish him well. That included his brother and teammate, Quinndary, a junior for the Bulldogs, and he left the court to a standing ovation in the Scottrade Center.
Broadcasters on the SEC Network said Weatherspoon was taken to a hospital by ambulance. They said the medical staff were concerned about the back of Weatherspoon’s head and his neck, but that he was blinking, responding, shaking and squeezing someone’s hand.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs made a valiant effort to survive in the tournament, but fell just short at the end. This likely puts an end to Mississippi State’s NCAA Tournament chances, but it should be a tough out in the NIT if it participates.
Tennessee: The Volunteers continue an impressive season, but their clip from the free-throw line was concerning. Tennessee’s offense wasn’t pretty, but its stellar defense can make up a lot of ground.
Mississippi State will wait until Sunday to find out its postseason fate.
Tennessee will face the winner of Arkansas vs. Florida in the tournament semifinals Saturday.
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