State reaches finals with 67-57 victory over LSU

SEC semi-final action in Tampa saw Mississippi State defeat regular season champion LSU 67-57 to advance to tommorow’s final against the winner of this afternoon’s Tennessee-Auburn matchup.

State jumped out to an early lead over a Tiger team that appeared a half-step slower throughout much of the day. After taking a two point halftime lead, the Bullies made a key defensive change midway through the 2nd half, when Jarvis “Swat” Varnardo and Phil Turner switched defensive responsibilities on forward Tasmin Mitchell. Mitchell went for 41 points in LSU’s mid-season double overtime victory over the Dogs. Swat absolutely smothered Mitchell who managed 15 points on the day.

POY Marcus Thornton was held to 14 points, 0-6 from the 3 point line. State was led by Varnardo’s 19 point, 7 block, 7 rebound effort, and Barry Stewart’s 17 points, including 10 of 12 from the line. The State bench contributed 13 points, 7 from super-sub Kodi Augustus, whose late season heroics have provided the x-factor sparkle that has changed State from a good team to an excellent one.

The victory was MSU’s fifth straight. No doubt, the Bulldogs are playing their best ball of the year.

Box score

Read more from SEC Sports

more from ESPN, and more (including comments) from VZville

cross-posted at Nuke’s

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