By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
Box Score | Photo Gallery | Mississippi State Quotes | South Carolina Quotes | Highlights
NASHVILLE – Fred Thomas scored a game-high 21 points and 13th-seeded Mississippi State held off a late charge from 12th-seeded South Carolina to post a 70-59 win on Wednesday at the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.
Mississippi State (10-21) advances to face fifth-seeded Tennessee (19-11) at 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday in a game that will be carried by the SEC Network.
Thomas, whose 21 points were a career high and complemented five steals, was one of four Mississippi State players to reach double-figure scoring totals. Colin Borchert and Roquez Johnson each charted 11 points and eight rebounds, while Gavin Ware added 10 points.
The Bulldogs shot 46.9 percent (23-of-49) from the field in the game, while the Gamecocks connected on 37.5 percent (24-of-64) of their shots. South Carolina out-rebounded Mississippi State 36-34.
Mississippi State, which was ahead 32-21 at intermission, led by as many as 13 points in the game. The Gamecocks cut within four (60-56) with 4:09 remaining, but that would be as close as they would come.
South Carolina (14-18) was led by 13 points from Bruce Ellington, while Brian Steele brought down a team-high seven rebounds.
All-Time Series: Mississippi State leads 18-9
In SEC Tournament Games: tied at 2-2
Earlier this Season: split, MSU won 56-54 in Starkville and USC won 79-72 in Columbia
• Key run: tied at 13, Mississippi State held South Carolina scoreless for more than six minutes, going on a 13-0 run for a 26-13 lead. MSU led the remainder of the game.
• MSU took a 32-21 advantage into halftime. MSU is now 10-3 this season when ahead or tied at intermission.
• USC got within four points twice in the second half (40-36 and 60-56) but got no closer.
South Carolina Notes:
• South Carolina is 14-18.
• Bruce Ellington led the Gamecocks with 13 points.
• Freshman Laimonas Chatkevicius scored 11 points, tying his career high.
• Freshman Brian Steele led USC in rebounding with a career-best seven rebounds.
Mississippi State Notes:
• Mississippi State is 10-21 and has won three of its last four games.
• Freshman Fred Thomas led the Bulldogs with a career-high 21 points, adding three rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and five steals.
• Colin Borchert and Roquez Johnson paced the Dogs with eight rebounds each, with Johnson tying his career best for board work.