By The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lamar Peters scored 24 points and Mississippi State hit 10 3-pointers in defeating LSU 80-77 in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday.
Leading by seven with 34 seconds left, the Bulldogs allowed the Tigers to hit two consecutive 3s to close to 78-77. But with nine seconds to play, Mississippi State inbounded the ball, avoided foul attempts and escaped with victory after Nick Weatherspoon's dunk.
Peters led an unlikely charge from 3 for the seventh-seeded Bulldogs, who came into the contest the 15th-worst team at 30.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Mississippi State (22-10), which faces Tennessee in Friday's third quarterfinal, shot 9 of 12 from 3 in the first half and finished the game 10 for 17.
Tenth-seeded LSU (17-14) trimmed a once 19-point Bulldogs' lead to just two with 5:52 remaining. The game stayed close until the end, but the Tigers never retook the lead.
Tremont Waters led LSU with 28 points and six assists. He sustained an injury in the final minutes but battled through till the end of the game.
Waters and Peters went back and forth all game, but Peters' teammates scored more down the stretch. Quinndary Weatherspoon and his brother, Nick, each finished with 15 points for the Bulldogs. Aric Holman posted a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 boards.
LSU: The Tigers simply started slow and got torched in the first half by Mississippi State's 3-point attack. They put together a valiant effort in the second half, but couldn't stop the Bulldogs on the defensive end.
Mississippi State: A hot-shooting night keeps the Bulldogs alive for another game. They'll face Tennessee on Friday. If they win that, it may be time to reconsider the Bulldogs as a bubble team.
LSU will wait to see its postseason fate.
Mississippi State faces Tennessee on Friday in the evening session of the tournament.
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