TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Jarvis Varnado scored 19 points and Barry Stewart added 17 Saturday to lead surging Mississippi State into the championship game of the Southeastern Conference tournament with a 67-57 upset of No. 20 LSU.
The Bulldogs (22-12) began the week needing to win two or three times to improve their chances of getting a spot in the NCAA tournament. Now, they're in a position to claim the SEC's automatic berth with their first conference tourney title since 2002.
LSU (26-7) beat Mississippi State twice during the regular season, but were no match this time with SEC player of the year Marcus Thornton scoring 14 on 5-for-19 shooting and the Tigers hitting only 31 percent overall.
The victory was the fifth straight for Mississippi State. LSU has lost three of four since clinching the SEC regular-season title.