The ball bounced off the rim but was pushed back by Abdul Ado. The ball fell at the sound of the buzzer, giving Mississippi State University the win over the University of Arkansas last Sunday, 78-77.
“That was one of the biggest moments of my life,” Ado said. ”Being able to say I was there for a tip in to help my team so our season could go on, that was really big-time for me.”
The tip-in was important because MSU needed to win against Arkansas, as they are a bubble team for the NCAA tournament. Ado said his mindset during this game was that they would leave Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas with a win.
Three years ago, Ado sat in a press conference and answered his first questions as an MSU basketball player. Ado is a redshirt junior forward from Lagos, Nigeria. He has been a part of the inside game for the Bulldogs since his freshman year.
MSU’s head coach Ben Howland said in a press conference on Wednesday before MSU’s game against the University of South Carolina, he couldn’t be happier for Ado. His tip-in came with less than one second left on the game clock.
“The guy who was guarding Abdul (Ado) slipped on his own teammate's foot so he went down,” Howland said. “So, Abdul's right there, and there's no one blocking him out. Thank the Lord that Abdul was right there because it was just a great tip to put it back in.”
In the last two games, Ado has scored 19 points and gathered 14 rebounds. His efforts have helped propel MSU victories in close physical games. This happened for the game against USC, as MSU won 79-76 on Wednesday night.
Before the South Carolina game, Ado said he loved playing them because of how physical the game is between MSU and USC which proved to be the case during Wednesday's game, with 42 personal fouls in total between the two teams.
“We play as hard as we can every game,” Ado said. “We give it our all. We play the same way we practice. We practice so hard that it makes the game a bit easier. We knew what we were coming into. We were prepared for it.”
The past two games were decided by just four points, as MSU enters the last stretch of their season. Those four points being in MSU’s favor helps in their hopes of being qualified for an NCAA tournament.
Ado said it has been exciting because everyone on the team has to contribute in order for them to win. With just five games left for MSU to make their strongest case for a bid in the tournament come March, the next game is the most important one. MSU will play Texas A&M University this Saturday at 2 p.m. in College Station Texas.
“As a group, even in practice, we try to stay positive. Adversity is going to hit,” Ado said. “Good times and bad times, we just try to keep our heads up and keep playing as hard as we can. Right now, we know that the next game is the most important game of the season for us.”