Chris Lofton scored 20 points and JaJuan Smith added 15 as No. 7 Tennessee turned back a late rally to beat Mississippi State 76-71 Saturday.
The Volunteers (19-2, 6-1 SEC) have won 15 of their last 16 overall and four straight against Mississippi State.
They looked like they'd have an easy time of it against the Bulldogs (14-7, 5-2) after building a 15-point lead early in the second half.
But Mississippi State hit 7 of 8 3-point field goals over the last 6 minutes to cut Tennessee's lead to 73-71 with 39.2 seconds left. Jordan Howell made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 15 seconds and Jamont Gordon missed one last 3-point attempt to end Mississippi State's rally.
Barry Stewart led Mississippi State with 21 points, including 6 of 8 on 3-pointers, Gordon added 17 and Charles Rhodes scored 15.
The Bulldogs had hit just 3 of 13 3-point attempts entering the rally, but were done in by 12 missed free throws.
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