Halftime: Miss. State 33, Vanderbilt 27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mississippi State is halfway to a second straight appearance in the SEC Tournament championship game.

What’s more, the Bulldogs could be closing in on a trip to the NCAA tournament. They remain one of the first couple of teams “outside the field,” according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.

Houston winning the Conference USA Tournament championship doesn’t help the Bulldogs any, because UTEP will also go from that league.

All Mississippi State can control is what’s right in front of it, and for a game and a half here at Bridgestone Arena, the Bulldogs have shown they want to keep playing.

They lead Vanderbilt 33-27 at the half after Barry Stewart and Phil Turner each tossed in 10 points in the first half. Turner came off the bench to hit 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

The Commodores have to get more from A.J. Ogilvy in the second half. He had two fouls in the first half with no points and one rebound and only played six minutes.