The Mississippi State Bulldogs entered the '95-96 season as the reigning SEC regular season champs and aspirations of a Final Four run. The Bulldogs returned senior guard Darryl Wilson and junior big man Erick Dampier giving them one of the SEC's best 1-2 punches. However, it was the addition of junior college forward Dontae Jones that provided the missing piece.
Richard Williams' squad went 19-7 during the regular season, once again winning the SEC regular season crown. And they got hot at the perfect time...the SEC Tournament. MSU beat Auburn, Georgia and #1 Kentucky to add another championship to their season.
As the #5 seed in the Southeast Region of the NCAA Tournament Mississippi State beat VCU and Princeton to make the Sweet 16. Awaiting them was the #1 seed Connecticut Huskies and All-American Ray Allen. A hot 1st half and 27 points from Darryl Wilson were enough for the Bulldogs to hang on for a 60-55 win and a matchup with the #2 seed Cincinnati Bearcats.
This time it was Jones leading the way with 23 points and 13 rebounds in a 73-63 win punching MSU's ticket to the Final Four.
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