Mississippi State beats Norfolk State 78-74
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 22 points, Tyson Carter added 17 points and Mississippi State held off Norfolk State 78-74 on Friday.
Mississippi State freshman Mario Kegler made two free throws with 6.6 seconds left to ice it.
''I'm glad we got the win, first and foremost,'' said Mississippi State coach Ben Howland. ''I thought we had a really difficult time guarding the dribble tonight and they got to the line 19 times in the first half. So we've got to learn to pressure the ball without getting beat.
''In the second half, we did move better and pushed their offense out further. But we played like the inexperienced team that we are. Our experienced guys – I.J. Ready and Q (Weatherspoon) did a nice job of leading us back.''
In the season opener for both teams, Mississippi State's Ready and Aric Holman had 14 and 11 points, respectively. Holman notched his first career double-double with 11 rebounds and also had five blocked shots.
Weatherspoon was 9 of 16 from the floor but was not on the floor in the closing minutes due to cramps. Carter made 5 of 7 3-pointers and played a team-high 33 minutes.
''I just cramped up late and I've just got to drink more water before the game,'' said Weatherspoon. ''I was nervous because I knew I couldn't come out there and help my teammates. But I was glad they got the win.''
Zaynah Robinson had 21 points to lead Norfolk State while Jonathan Wade scored 18 points.
''It was a hard-fought game and we hurt ourselves with a couple of questionable plays,'' said Norfolk State coach Robert Jones. ''We have a young team just like Mississippi State does but I am proud of my guys. I hope to bottle up that energy the rest of the year.''
Mississippi State was hampered by foul trouble in the first half with Eli Wright and Mario Kegler each having three fouls. But Norfolk State couldn't take advantage as they went 10 of 19 at the free-throw line.
Norfolk State: The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference members fell to 1-8 all-time against SEC schools.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs played six true freshmen and they combined for 31 points.
Norfolk State: The Spartans return to action on Sunday and host Shenandoah in their home opener.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs travels to Charleston, South Carolina for the Charleston Classic. They play on Thursday against Central Florida.