Mississippi State trailed by three with 21 seconds left, but had the ball on their home court and a chance to prove that the Commodores had yet to figure out their late game woes. One monumental Jeffery Taylor dunk later, it was all over.
Taylor stole Brian Bryant's backcourt pass with just 17 seconds to go and threw down a vicious dunk to seal the win for Vanderbilt, securing Kevin Stallings's first ever win in Starksville as the 'Dores avoided Mississippi State's upset bid. Vandy trailed by as many as eight points with 10 minutes to play, but showed that they could win tough conference games on the road with a gutsy performance at The Hump.
After a cold first half, the 'Dores offense came alive in the second frame, getting into the paint and putting in work from the foul line. Taylor led all scorers with 25 points and John Jenkins added 21 despite a below average (for him) shooting night. Lance Goulbourne continued his torrid pace on the glass with 13 rebounds and nine points, stepping up big when Festus Ezeli was saddled with foul trouble.
Vanderbilt put an onus on attacking the Bulldogs' frontcourt, and their tenacity paid off. Ezeli was a perfect 5-5 from the field while playing a huge role in taking MSU's forwards out of the game due to foul problems. Sidney, Kodi Augustus, and Wendell Lewis combined for 14 fouls and just 13 rebounds, opening up the lane for Taylor and Jenkins to do damage on offense.
The win was Vandy's first as a ranked team this season. More importantly, it was the first game of the season where this team was able to counter an opposing team's momentum in the second half on the road. It was a big win for Kevin Stallings and his crew. Mississippi State presented a big time trap game for the 'Dores - but thanks to Jeffery Taylor's best play wearing black and gold, Vanderbilt avoided the trap.