Tolu Smith leads Mississippi State past Florida

Tolu Smith had 27 points and 14 rebounds as Mississippi State held off Florida 72-69 in a Southeastern Conference game on Saturday afternoon in Starkville, Miss.

Smith made 11 of 13 field-goal attempts, Iverson Molinar added 13 points, Abdul Ado had 11 after making all five of his field-goal attempts and D.J. Stewart Jr. scored 11 for the Bulldogs (9-5, 4-2 SEC).

Tyree Appleby scored 20 points, making all 11 of his free throws, Colin Castleton added 16 and Tre Mann scored 14 for the Gators (6-4, 3-3).

The Bulldogs led by 10 in the final minute before Mann made a jumper, a layup and converted a three-point play that cut the lead to three with 16 seconds left.

After Stewart missed a layup, Mann missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Mississippi State led by three points at the break and scored the first eight points of the second half.

Tolu Smith made a layup, Molinar hit a jumper and Smith made two more layups to give the Bulldogs a 40-29 lead.

Castleton made a layup to provide Florida’s first points of the half and two free throws by Appleby later cut the deficit to seven.

Tolu Smith’s free throw and a basket by Deivon Smith pushed the lead to 10 before the Gators cut the lead in half with Mann’s 3-pointer and Appleby’s jumper.

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