NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Iverson Molinar scored 24 points, D.J. Stewart Jr. added 16 and Mississippi State made just enough free throws in the closing seconds to hold off Vanderbilt 84-81 on Saturday.
Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. scored 18 points, dished 12 assists and Vanderbilt hit three 3-pointers on its last four shots, coming as close as 82-81 with eight seconds left. Pippen found Trey Thomas for 3 with 18 seconds to go and again to Dylan Disu for 3 at eight seconds.
Pippen had the ball with three seconds left before losing it in the backcourt and fouling.
Tolu Smith added 18 points and seven rebounds for Mississippi State (8-4, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) and Jalen Johnson scored 10. The Bulldogs shot 61%, making 31 of 51 and outscored the Commodores 42-18 in the paint.
Thomas added 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting from distance, and Disu added 16 point with three 3-pointers as Vanderbilt (4-5, 0-3) made 15 out of 33 from beyond the arc. Pippen’s 12 assists are the most by a Commodore in a single game since 2005, and the program’s first points/assists double-double since 2015.
Mississippi State led 36-35 after a first half that saw 10 lead changes, five ties and neither team ahead by more than seven.
Molinar sparked a 10-2 run with a jumper-and-one, that gave the Bulldogs some separation at 61-50 with 11:01 remaining. The Commodores erased 10 of those points in less than three minutes.
Mississippi State built another 10-point lead with just under five to play only to see Pippen score nine of his points down the stretch. Pippen and Disu scored 17 of the Commodore’s last 20 points.
Vanderbilt was playing without senior center Clevon Brown (groin) and freshman guard Isaac McBride (ankle).
The Bulldogs are 3-1 in the SEC for the first time since the 2016-17 season. Mississippi State is on a two-game roll after bumping off No. 13 Mizzou earlier in the week and play host to Texas A&M on Wednesday. Vanderbilt, which has dropped three-point decisions in its last two games, travels to Missouri Tuesday.
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