No. 15 Mississippi State will try to leave Las Vegas with a win after digging too deep of a hole against Arizona State on Monday before losing in the semifinals of the MGM Resorts Main Event at T-Mobile Arena.
The Bulldogs, who rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit against the Sun Devils before losing 72-67, will play in the consolation game against St. Mary's, which lost to Utah State 80-63 in the other semifinal.
Mississippi State (3-1) will look to senior forward Aric Holman, who missed a game-tying 3-pointer with 24 seconds left against Arizona State, to help the Bulldogs bounce back. He finished with a game-high 22 points, the second-highest total of his career. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Nick Weatherspoon and Quinndary Weatherspoon, brothers who are guards for the Bulldogs, finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
St. Mary's (3-1) is coming off a disappointing shooting night -- 29 percent from the field -- against Utah State. Jordan Ford, a guard, and forward Malik Fitts each had 14 points for the Gaels. They were a combined 7 of 25 from the field.
The Gaels went on an 11-0 run in the second half but that was still not enough to overcome their cold shooting that did them in against the unbeaten Aggies, who improved to 5-0 with the win.
St. Mary's coach Randy Bennett is looking to salvage his team's trip to Las Vegas as well with a victory over a ranked team.
"It's a great opportunity. We know, our players know, our staff know how important these games are," Bennett said. "It's good to see where we're at."
Mississippi State was outrebounded 27-12 in the first half and took many 3-point shots in falling behind 39-24 at halftime. It proved to be too much of a hole for the Bulldogs to overcome.
"The first half was a knock in the mouth," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. "We were beaten on the boards by 15. We had way too many perimeter shots. We were way too rushed and impatient on offense. Their size bothered us, it was a tough matchup for our smaller guard lineup. We were beat badly in transition, and our foul trouble hurt us."
The Bulldogs started to click offensively early in the second half going to Holman, who scored seven of their 10 consecutive points to open the second half.
Nick Weatherspoon's jumper tied the game at 65 with 1:01 left. After Arizona State regained the lead on a 3-pointer, Holman's 3-point try rimmed out with 17 seconds left.
"I was proud of the way that we fought back in the second half," Howland said. "We had a good run to start the half, but you have to spend a lot of energy to come back. Fight and toughness was the difference for us in the second half."
After playing the Gaels, the Bulldogs' next game is Monday at home against Alcorn State.
St. Mary's next plays host to Harvard on Saturday.