ATHENS —Mississippi State scratched out a win over Georgia on Wednesday night, winning the battle of Bulldogs by a 68-67 count at Stegeman Coliseum.
Mississippi State won the game at the free-throw line in the final second.
Quinndary Weatherspoon hit one of three free-throw attempts with 0.5 seconds left after being fouled by Jordan Harris on a shot attempt.
Weatherspoon was granted an extra free-throw attempt via a technical called on UGA because a fan threw a small stuffed bulldog on the court.
State had used a 19-0 run to pull away in the final stages of the first half and opening minutes of the second half before the crowd of 7,153.
Coach Ben Howland’s team came from 25-23 down to take a commanding 42-25 lead on Weatherspoon’s drive at the 18:31 mark.
Georgia (10-16, 1-12) roared back, tying the game 67-67 on Tyree Crump’s 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left.
UGA, however, couldn’t finish the job, dropping its seventh straight dating back to the 98-88 win over Texas on Jan. 26.
Weatherspoon(10-16, 1-12) scored a career-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting for Mississippi State (19-7, 7-6 SEC), including a pair of free throws with 15.6 seconds left to give his team a 67-64 cushion.
UGA star Nicolas Claxton, who entered the night one of five Division I players leading his team in all five major statistical categories, finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Claxton didn’t score his first points until the 3:54 mark, giving Georgia a 24-20 lead.
Moments later, Claxton committed his second foul, and Coach Tom Crean made what proved to be a critical decision to take him out of the game, likely contributing to the key MSU run.
Mississippi State held a 36-25 lead at halftime, breaking away with the 16-1 (and 13-0) run the final 3:16.
Weatherspoon led the charge, scoring 12 of those 16 points as State hit on its final seven shots of the first half.
Georgia, meanwhile, committed four of its seven opening half turnovers in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
Mississippi State firmed up its NCAA Tournament resume with the victory, its third in a row.
Georgia returns to action at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Ole Miss (TV: SEC Network). The Rebels beat the Bulldogs by an 80-64 count in Athens earlier this month, on Feb. 9.
It’s the first of five regular season games remaining for Georgia, which returns to the Classic City for a home game against Auburn at 9 p.m. next Wednesday.
UGA finishes with games at Florida (March 2), at home against Missouri (March 6) and at South Carolina (March 9) before traveling to Nashville for the SEC Tournament (March 13-17).