March 14, 2013
Mississippi State was able to prolong its season another day by winning its opening game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday.
The 13th seeded Bulldogs advanced past South Carolina and now face No. 5 seed Tennessee at 2:30 p.m. CT. just 18 hours following their first round victory.
MSU's 70-59 victory over the Gamecocks Wednesday night improved their record to 28-49 all-time at the event. The Bulldogs were led by a career-high 21 points from freshman wing Fred Thomas knocking down 4-of-8 behind the 3-point line while also adding three assists, three blocks and five steals.
Today marks the 10th meeting between the Bulldogs and Tennessee at the SEC Tournament. Their last meeting came in the 2009 SEC Tournament Championship game in Tampa with State cutting down the nets following a 66-61 win. The Volunteers are 6-3 in the SEC Tournament against Mississippi State but the Bulldogs have claimed the last three matchups at the event.
Tennessee also holds a 76-41 edge in the overall series including a 72-57 victory in Knoxville earlier this season on Jan. 19. The Vols had four players score in double figures in that contest led by a double-double effort from sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes (6-8, 250) scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Junior guard Jalen Steele led MSU with 15 points in his return to his hometown.
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