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Mississippi State beats Florida 75-69 in tourney

Mar 13, 2010 - 2:49 AM By BETH RUCKER AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn.(AP) -- Barry Stewart scored 17 points and hit five late free throws as Mississippi State held on to defeat Florida 75-69 in the Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.

The Bulldogs (22-9) will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between No. 20 Vanderbilt and Georgia, who were to play late Friday night.

Mississippi State held a 58-39 lead with 13:29 left when it fell into a 6-minute scoring drought.

The Gators (21-12) took advantage with a 14-0 run. A 3-pointer by Erving Walker and a free throw by Chandler Parsons cut Mississippi State's lead to 58-53 with 8:17 left.

Kenny Boynton hit a jump shot over Jarvis Varnado's head to cut Mississippi State's lead to 71-68 with 27 seconds left, but Stewart hit 5 of 6 free throw attempts down the stretch to preserve the win.

Boynton led Florida with 23 points.