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Updated: Saturday, March 13, 2004 1:16 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Vanderbilt 74, (5) Mississippi St 70 (ot)

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Mississippi State saw its chance for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament slip away.

Mario Moore scored 17 points and Julian Terrell matched a career high with 16 off the bench as Vanderbilt rallied for a 74-70 overtime victory over the fifth-seeded Bulldogs in a Southeastern Conference quarterfinal.

Terrell converted two free throws with 3:41 left in the extra period to give the Commodores the lead for good. Matt Freije's basket with 2:02 remaining pushed Vanderbilt's advantage to three points.

Winsome Frazier drained two free throws to pull Mississippi State within 71-70 with just under a minute to go, but the Bulldogs turned over the ball and Moore hit a free throw.

Mississippi State, which had plenty of chances to win, made another bad pass and Corey Smith sealed it with two more from the line with 20 seconds left.

"When you play a team like Mississippi State you just want to keep it as close as you can throughout the game and hope good things happen for you at the end," said Commodores guard Russell Lakey, who scored 13 points. "Thankfully, we were able to keep it close and the end result went our way."

The Commodores were down 41-30 with 16:15 remaining before scoring seven straight points in 30 seconds to get back in the game, including two on steals by Moore.

"When we got down (by 11 points), I thought that was real, real key," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "The scores that Mario created by stealing the ball and getting to the basket."

Lawrence Roberts, hampered by a twisted ankle suffered with 14 minutes left in the second half, put the Bulldogs ahead, 65-64, with 47 seconds remaining in the second half, but Freije hit one from the line to tie it a little more than 10 seconds later.

Freije added 13 points and Smith had 12 and a career-high 10 rebounds for Vanderbilt (21-8), which will face Florida in the semifinals on Saturday.

The Commodores snapped a four-game losing streak to the Bulldogs to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1993 and ninth time in school history overall.

"I'm happy because of Mississippi State's ranking," Stallings said. "If we're lucky enough to get the call (to the NCAA Tournament) Sunday, hopefully, it will improve our ranking."

Shane Power scored 16 points, Frazier finished with 15 and Timmy Bowers added 14 for the Bulldogs (25-3), who were in line for a possible No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament after fashioning one of the most impressive seasons in SEC history, but they likely will settle for a second or third seed.

"We knew that we had to keep winning, to put ourselves in a position for a No. 1 seed," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "We'll put it behind us and get into the next season. We probably made it easier for the committee to decide."

Mississippi State is the first outright SEC champion to lose in the first round since Georgia lost to Vanderbilt, 78-74, in overtime on March 9, 1990.

Roberts left with 13:59 left in the second half after colliding with a cameraman at the baseline while chasing a lose ball. He returned with 11:25 remaining in the half but was not the same.

"I thought he was out for the game when he was injured, so we made plans to move on," Stansbury said. "I didn't think he was as effective when he returned, but he played as hard as he could."


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