Conway, S.C. – Coastal Carolina senior forward Tommy Burton had 13 points, but the Chanticleers couldn’t find the mark from a usually consistent corps of three-point shooters as Mississippi State ran away to an 81-56 win over the Chants in the battle for third-place in the Myrtle Beach Invitational Sunday at the HTC Center.
The loss dropped Coastal to 3-4 on the year as the Chants registered their lowest scoring output of the season. Mississippi State, a team getting votes in the top-25 national poll, improved to 6-1 on the year, with its only loss coming to No. 17 Villanova by seven points in an earlier tournament game.
Coastal managed a couple of other double figures scores as point guard DeVante Jones and reserve freshman forward Tim Ceaser had 10 points apiece. But after averaging 10 made three-pointers in the first two games of the tournament, the Chanticleers were just 3-of-16 from beyond the arc against the bigger and stronger Bulldogs.
“Our legs were not there. This was a tough outing for us,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis, whose team was playing for the first time without sophomore guard Ebrima Dibba, who injured a knee in the last game and will be out for the rest of the season. “I don’t think we handled the game plan well, but we are a totally new team without Dibba. Our identity changes without him, but we have to play with the cards we’ve been dealt.”
Keishawn Brewton was 11-of-17 from long range in the first two games of the tournament but was 0-of-6 against Mississippi State. As a team, Coastal came in hitting better than 52 percent of its treys, including going 20-of-38 in the previous two games. The Chants also struggled in overall shooting, hitting just 19-of-54 (35 percent) from the floor.
Mississippi State showed its inside strength with eight dunks and held a 36-31 rebounding advantage in the contest. The Bulldogs jumped in front early, using a 12-2 run to take at 22-9 lead. Tyson Carter had 13 points in the first period that ended with the Bulldogs in front, 41-23. He finished with a team-high 19 points.
Coastal pulled to within 11 points at 47-36 on back-to-back field goals by Brewton and Jones, but Mississippi State finished with a flurry, stretching its lead to 31 points at 81-50 in the final minutes.