With 10 seconds left and the game tied at 68, the perfect play was set up for Quinndary Weatherspoon, a senior guard from Canton, to get to the hoop. He made his fifth game-winning shot as Mississippi State University defeated the University of Florida 71-68.
After being inches away from defeating No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers this past Saturday, the Florida Gators came to Starkville to get a victory over the Bulldogs, as MSU had suffered a tough 81-77 loss against rival University of Mississippi on the same day.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams jockeying for dominance in the game, but neither one seemed to have full control of the game. It came down to the final 10 seconds with the score tied at 68, and MSU got possession after a timeout.
Quinndary Weatherspoon activated his winning spirit, and found a way to finish inside with a layup; he was fouled with an opportunity to shoot at the line for one and would convert, ultimately giving the Bulldogs the win with the final score of 71-68. Head coach Ben Howland said Quinndary Weatherspoon is one of the special players he has coached in 31 years of D1 coaching who has made more than one game-winning shot.
“I can’t remember one player that I have coached or been a part of the staff as an assistant that made more than one in his career,” Howland said.
The late victory had snapped a losing streak of two SEC conference games for MSU, and Quinndary Weatherspoon said the team is now starting to get back in rhythm after suffering two difficult setbacks.
“I think it’s good. Just getting our confidence back to get back on the right track and win a couple more in a row like we did before,” Quinndary Weatherspoon said.
Along with the late-game heroics of Quinndary Weatherspoon, who finished the game with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, the Bulldogs ramped up their play for this game, which was evident when the ball hit the floor.
MSU played better defensively, a part of their game Howland was concerned with going into Tuesday’s game. The Bulldogs also played smart when it came to getting shots, as they had a 53.1 field goal percentage, and an outstanding 58.8 three-point percentage.
Two players who impacted the game the most on offense were guards Lamar Peters, a junior from New Orleans, and Tyson Carter, a junior from Starkville. Peters scored 16 points in the first half and nailed four threes in that half alone. When Carter came off the bench, he also made four threes in the game, and ended the game with 12 points.
“(I) just got to make sure I stay locked in on the bench,” Carter said. “Just stay focused, and when I get a chance, I can help my teammates.”
Howland was very pleased by the way his team played against the Gators, expressing gratitude toward how well the players showed growth in their play and mentality on the court.
“I thought we kept our composure so much better in this game than we did Saturday,” Howland said. “So that showed a lot of growth because that is something we have been talking about. Not being so emotional. Being positive.”
As always, the MSU fans let their presence be known, which helped bring some much needed fire to the Bulldogs to pull away with the victory. Howland said he appreciated the 7,501 fans who attended the game.
“I thought we had a great crowd tonight for a six o’clock game here in Starkville,” Howland said. "We had really good support. I’m so thankful for our crowd."
The Bulldogs will go on the road for their next game to play at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Vanderbilt University. The game will be available on the SEC Network and the MSU Radio Network.