STARKVILLE, Miss. — Despite a game high 32 point effort from SWAC Player of the Year Garrison Johnson the Jackson State Tigers fell 81-67 to the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament Tuesday night at the Humphrey Coliseum.
Johnson scored a career high 32 points in the final game of his collegiate career. Tyrone Hanson added 11. De’Suan Dixon pulled down 11 rebounds.
Jarvis Varnado led MSU with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Dee Bost added 18 points and Kodi Augustus scored 13 points.
The Tigers were able to hang with the No. 1 seeded Bulldogs for most of the game, but MSU took control of the game after a JSU flagrant foul.
The Tigers scored the first two points of the game on a De’Suan Dixon basket. JSU stayed within five points of MSU until the 3:04 mark in the first half. MSU took a 32-23 lead into halftime. JSU shot 36 percent from the field in the first half and MSU shot 37 percent.
The Bulldogs extended its lead to 12 points at the 18-16 mark in the second half. JSU went on a 10-3 run to cut the lead down to five points at the 14:53 mark. But, after Phillip Williams got a flagrant foul and a technical foul, Williams was ejected from the game and the momentum shifted MSU’s way.
For the game JSU out rebounded MSU 38-35, but the Tigers committed 16 turnovers.
“I have to say congratulations to Mississippi State and coach Rick Stansbury,” said JSU head coach Tevester Anderson. “Mississippi State should be in the NCAA Tournament. They have an excellent team and an excellent chance to win the NIT.
“We have to build off this. This team did an outstanding job and I am proud of these young men.”