Besides taking down a team that earned a share of the SEC regular season title, Mississippi State also had an atypical in-game hurdle to overcome. The Bulldogs had to watch freshman guard Nick Weatherspoon get carted off on a stretcher after a freak neck injury.
They tried to move past an emotional scene and somehow close out the SEC Tournament quarterfinal matchup. But that was too tall of a task against a battle-tested team like Tennessee.
The Vols held off the Bulldogs and pulled out a 62-59 win to advance to the SEC semifinals.
MSU had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but a 3-point attempt hit off the back iron and Tennessee closed the door on a gutsy effort from the Bulldogs.
Tennessee was led by 15 points off the bench from Lamonte Turner and 13 points from Admiral Schofield. Quinndary Weatherspoon, who was inadvertently involved in his brother’s injury, had a big second half for MSU with 17 points while Lamar Peters scored a game-high 22 points.
The second-seeded Vols earned their fifth straight victory, which is one win short of their longest streak of the season.
They’ll have a chance to make it 6 in a row on Saturday when they take on the winner of the Arkansas-Florida game that will close things out on Friday night in St. Louis.