LaChance’s three at the buzzer sinks Mississippi State

The Vanderbilt Commodores top the Mississippi State Bulldogs with a game-winning buzzer-beater three point shot on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018. (Photo by Brent Szklaruk)

The Vanderbilt Commodores broke the hearts of Bulldog fans everywhere, defeating the Mississippi State Bulldogs 81-80 this Valentine’s Day.

Riley LaChance provided some late game heroics, making a game-winning three-pointer with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to edge the Bulldogs in what was a thrilling game.

Jeff Roberson led the Commodores with 22 points on 6 for 11 shooting. Xavian Stapleton led the Bulldogs with 17 points; he was a perfect 5-5 from three point territory.

The two halves could not have been more different.

Jeff Roberson provided the early spark for the Commodores in the first half, scoring 12 points in 16 minutes.

Vanderbilt used a 13-0 run to go up 27-22 after being down 22-14. They rode that momentum to go up 40-31 at the end of the half.

The team certainly passed the eye test in the first half, only committing four turnovers. Their defense certainly tightened up as the half progressed. Vanderbilt held Mississippi State without a bucket in the final 4:03 of the first half.

They were simply on fire from three-point range, shooting 54% at halftime and 52% overall.

On the other side, Abdul Ado was Mississippi State’s leading scorer with eight points by the end of the first half.

The second half started the same way. Vanderbilt extended its lead to 11, its largest, on the backs of Payton Willis and Roberson. The duo combined for 37 points.

Willis had a stellar night, going 5 for 8 from three-point territory and scoring 15 points.

As Mississippi State tried to cut into the Commodore lead, Joe Toye went aerial to throw down a dunk worthy of number three in the SportsCenter Top 10.

That’s when the Bulldogs started to turn on the jets. Mississippi State made things interesting, scoring 26 points on nine consecutive possessions to take the lead at the 3:30 mark. This run included seven three-pointers, an and-1 and a dunk that energized the Mississippi State bench.

Folks, we finally had a game on our hands.

With 18 seconds to play, Mississippi State’s Abdul Ado threw down a dunk to give his team a three-point lead.

On the ensuing possession, Willis missed a three-pointer only to have Roberson fight and secure a clutch offensive rebound. Roberson got fouled and went 1 for 2 from the line, putting the Commodores just two points behind with eight seconds to play.

Inexplicably, Ado fouled Toye on the ensuing rebound, sending him to the line. Toye misses the first one before making the second. The Commodores were down by one, and nearly forced the Bulldogs into a turnover, but a very questionable foul call sent Stapleton to the line with seven seconds left. He made the first and missed the second.

The Commodores were down by two as they grabbed the rebound and raced up the court. LaChance found himself open due to a defensive lapse by Mississippi State, and heaved a three.

LaChance sunk the game winner, putting to rest concerns over late-game struggles and inexplicably missed free throws as of late.

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