Posted: Nov 18, 2011 4:54 AM
Updated: Nov 21, 2011 3:32 PM
Dee Bost scored 20 points and Mississippi State upset No. 19 Texas A&M, 69-60, at Madison Square Garden on Thursday to reach the final of the 2K Sports Classic.
"The only thing that matter is we won. If we would have lost it wouldn't mean nothing," Bost said about his performance.
Brian Bryant added 12 points and Rodney Hood had 10 for the Bulldogs (3-1), who will face Arizona in Friday's championship game after the 15th-ranked Wildcats beat St. John's 81-72 in Thursday's other semifinal.
The Aggies (2-1) never led against Mississippi State after trailing their other two opponents this season for only 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Elston Turner scored 13 points in the loss and David Loubeau had 11.
Texas A&M will face St. John's in the consolation match, also Friday.
Hood's layup gave Mississippi State a 2-0 lead and sparked a 31-9 run to open the game.
It was the first time Texas A&M trailed since early in the first half of its season opener against Liberty on November 9.
First-year Aggies head coach Billy Kennedy, who took a leave of absence after being diagnosed with an early stage of Parkinson's disease, returned for their second game, a win over Southern, and was on the bench again for this one.
But there was little fight in Texas A&M until a 23-10 run to close the first half, which drew the Aggies within 41-32 at the break.
"We're still trying to figure out how to play. I give our players a lot of credit for hanging in there the last month and sticking together in an awkward situation," said Kennedy. "Our coaches have done a tremendous job too. Then you lose Khris Middleton a week ago. We don't have a lot of margin for error."
Mississippi State, playing its fifth ever game in the famed New York City arena, opened the second half on a 7-0 run for some distance. Bryant scored the first four points on layups and Arnett Moultrie capped the burst with a three-point play, making it 48-32.
Later, after Texas A&M used an 8-0 spurt to cut a 16-point deficit in half at 58-50, Bryant's layup and a three-pointer by Bost gave the Bulldogs some distance with a little more than three minutes remaining.
Hood became the first true freshman to score in double-digits in his first four games for Mississippi State since Rickey Brown did it in 12 straight games during the 1976-77 season.
Mississippi State took a 2-1 lead in the all-time series...Renardo Sidney, the talented Bulldogs forward prone to suspensions, scored three points...Texas A&M made its second trip to play in New York City since 1949.
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