Tuesday night’s 85-79 loss to Kentucky was the latest.
Desperately in need of a win, the Bulldogs were thriving on the road and looked to take a 40-35 lead into halftime – until Stansbury decided to get cute. His team had fouls to give, so he told Brian Bryant to foul Brandon Knight before Knight could get a shot off before half.
To say it backfired would be an understatement. I’ll let the Lexington Herald-Leader recap what happened:
But Knight anticipated Bryant’s second foul and heaved a quasi-shot attempt from beyond half court. After the referees conferred, it was ruled a shooting foul.
State Coach Rick Stansbury, who last season suggested the SEC favored Kentucky, recoiled in disbelief. Referee Jamie Luckie called a techincal foul on Stansbury, which was the first for the State coach this season.
Knight made four of five free throws (two of three on the shot and both technical foul shots) with 1.1 seconds left.
Instead of a five-point lead, Miss State led by just one and went into the half completely deflated. Miss State guard Dee Bost told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger it was a “bad call” because it was clear Knight “was literally throwing the ball to [Terrence] Jones. But that’s how it is.”
Stansbury didn’t address the play afterward. He merely said “I didn’t help our team.” (Watch his meltdown here.)
Kentucky couldn’t ever put Miss State away, which made that four-point swing crucial down the stretch. The Wildcats have struggled to close out wins. Without that extra cushion, the Bulldogs might’ve pulled it off.
But why would that be any different than the rest of their season?
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