ATLANTA, Ga. - In a back-and-forth battle that featured 19 lead changes and 11 ties, the Mississippi State men’s basketball team had its game-tying attempt to send the contest into triple overtime hit off the back iron as Dayton emerged with an 85-82 double overtime win on Saturday at State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
The Bulldogs (3-3) have split its 12 double overtime decisions dating back to the 1956-57 season and fell to Dayton (3-1) for the first time in the four-game non-conference series.
D.J. Stewart Jr. exploded for 27 of his career-high 32 points during regulation. He was 13-of-22 shooting and hit on 3-of-5 of his triples. It marked Stewart Jr.’s third game of 20-plus points on the young season. The redshirt sophomore is the first MSU player to pour in 30-plus points in a game since Quinndary Weatherspoon tallied 31 at Georgia on 02/20/2019.
Stewart Jr. is the 12th sophomore in program history to notch 30-plus points during a game. The list features nine 1,000-point scorers which include Jim Ashmore (1853-54-55-56), Mario Austin (2001-02-03), Dee Bost (2009-10-11-12), Tyson Carter (2017-18-19-20), Larry Fry (1973-74-75), Bailey Howell (1957-58-59), Rich Knarr (1973-74-75-76), Craig Sword (2013-14-15-16) and Dave Williams (1966-67-68). Carter pumped home 35 points against North Dakota State on 11/30/2017.
Iverson Molinar stuffed the box score with 20 points, handed out a career-best seven assists and added two steals. He was 10-of-23 from the floor. Mississippi State had won the previous seven games in Molinar’s career when he provided double figures.
The 20-point performance gave Molinar a pair of 20-plus point game in his first three outings. The Molinar-Stewart Jr. duo became the 10th combo to amass at least 20 points during a game as a freshmen or sophomore since the 1986-87 season. Five of the 10 occasions have come during the Ben Howland era. Stewart Jr. and Tolu Smith each notched 20 points apiece versus Liberty on 11/26 earlier this season.
Tolu Smith tacked on 13 points and seven rebounds to give the Bulldogs three players in double figures. Smith and Stewart Jr. extended their runs to six straight games in double figures to start the season.
Quinten Post nailed a pair of three-pointers en route to six points, a rebound and a steal to lead Mississippi State’s bench.
Cameron Matthews came away with five points, two rebounds and two steals before fouling out. Abdul Ado, Javian Davis and Deivon Smith rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Ado and Davis hauled down seven rebounds apiece as Mississippi State won a tightly-contested battle of the boards, 33-32. Smith dished out three assists. The Bulldogs frontcourt of Ado, Matthews and Tolu Smith fouled out at different points of overtime.
Mississippi State compiled a 34-of-75 shooting clip (45.3 percent), was 5-of-17 on three-pointers (29.4 percent) and hit on 9-of-22 at the free throw line (40.9 percent). The Bulldogs distributed 13 assists and held a 46-34 advantage in paint points.
Dayton sank 29-of-55 from the field (52.7 percent), 8-of-22 from beyond the three-point line (36.4 percent) and 19-of-26 at the charity stripe (73.1 percent). Four Flyers registered double figures headed by Jalen Crutcher’s 23 points and four assists followed by Ibi Watson’s 21 points and five assists. Rodney Chatman and Chase Johnson also dialed up 15 points apiece for Dayton.