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.
Three points each by Tolu Smith and Ado pushed the lead to 55-45 nearly midway through the half.
Castleton's layup pulled Florida within 56-52 with eight minutes remaining.
Mississippi State increased the lead to 65-56 as the Gators went more than 6 1/2 minutes without making a field goal.
Anthony Duruji finally ended Florida's field-goal drought by making a jumper but that merely cut the deficit to 69-60 with 1:15 remaining.
The score was tied three times before Appleby gave the Gators the lead and Omar Payne added a dunk for a 13-10 advantage.
Consecutive baskets by Stewart, Molinar and Ado gave the Bulldogs a 22-17 lead.
The score was tied twice more before jumpers by Molinar and Johnson, the latter with six seconds left, gave Mississippi State a 32-29 halftime lead.
--Field Level Media