No. 8 Mississippi State beats SE Louisiana 81-41

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) The scoreboard said Mississippi State finished off another impressive victory on Monday night.

Even so, Bulldogs coach Vic Schaefer wasn't impressed after his team's relatively easy 81-41 victory over Southeastern Louisiana.

''We just looked flat,'' Schaefer said. ''That's the only way I can say it. Right now, we don't have those one or two people who grab everyone else and say `Hey, we've got to pick it up and go harder.' It's concerning, really, to look as lethargic as we looked.''

It was a lackluster game for Mississippi State (12-1) against a mediocre opponent that has won one game this season. The Bulldogs hadn't played in a week and looked rusty on the offensive end – especially in the first half – going nearly 6 minutes without scoring in the second quarter.

Mississippi State won its seventh straight game. The Bulldogs never trailed, jumping to a 27-12 lead by the end of the first quarter. Morgan William led the early run, scoring nine points.

Chinwe Okorie and Victoria Vivians both scored 13 points. William and Blair Schaefer had 12 points each.

Southeastern Louisiana (1-10) lost its third straight. The Lions managed to stay competitive in the first half after falling behind early, but they could never cut the Bulldogs' advantage to single digits and slowly fell into a big deficit in the second half.

Nanna Pool led the Lions with 18 points while Taylin Underwood added 15.

Mississippi State won despite shooting just 35.5 percent (27 of 76) from the field. That's because Southeastern Louisiana also struggled, shooting 21.1 percent (12 of 55).

Okorie missed several close shots around the basket. Schaefer said he could tell during the shootaround before the game that the team's focus was missing.

''We won by 40 points, but we feel down,'' Okorie said. ''We feel like we didn't even win.''

Mississippi State did have a big advantage on the glass, grabbing 30 offensive rebounds. Southeastern Louisiana had 24 turnovers.

Mississippi State will likely need a much better performance on Wednesday when it plays No. 20 South Florida. The Bulldogs haven't faced a nationally ranked opponent since losing 53-47 to then-No. 6 Texas on Dec. 2.

TIP-INS

SE Louisiana: The Lions have struggled against teams from the Power Five conferences this season. They have also lost 97-53 to Arkansas, 102-49 to Georgia Tech and 113-51 to Texas Tech.

Mississippi State: William came into the game shooting 88.6 percent from the free throw line, which ranks second in the Southeastern Conference. She was 5 of 5 on Monday. William led the Bulldogs with eight assists despite playing just 20 minutes. … Schaefer's 12 points tied a career high.

UP NEXT

SE Louisiana hosts Stephen F. Austin on Jan. 4.

Mississippi State faces South Florida in the SEC/AAC Challenge in Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday.

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