Mississippi State cruises past LSU 95-78
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Aric Holman scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Mississippi State defeated LSU 95-78 in a Southeastern Conference game Saturday.
Holman was one of five players in double figures for the Bulldogs (10-4, 1-1), who took the lead for good around the midway point of the first half. Lamar Peters finished with 15 points, Quinndary Weatherspoon had 14, I.J. Ready 13 and Mario Kegler 11.
”That was a great performance by our team,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. ”We responded well after a disappointing loss at home against Alabama. Offensively, we were much better in making the extra pass. To score 95 points on 54 percent shooting was phenomenal.”
Mississippi State scored 11 straight points to go on top 30-20 with 6:42 remaining in the first half. Holman put the Bulldogs in front 21-20 with a pair of foul shots. Mississippi State built its advantage to 19 points, 52-33, by halftime.
”We were more patient on offense,” Holman said. ”We realized we rushed a lot of shots in our last game (against Alabama). We moved the ball better. I just played as hard as I could, I had been watching film and people were respecting my 3-point shot, so I worked on my driving game.”
LSU (9-5, 1-2) never reduced its deficit to fewer than 13 points in the second half. Duop Reath led the Tigers with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Antonio Blakeney added 17 points and Skylar Mays 10.
”We have to make some corrections and identify those problems,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ”We have to do a much better job on the defensive end when we go through a stretch without scoring. Mississippi State got in their comfort zone and made plays.”
Mississippi State: After scoring just 58 points in their SEC opener against Alabama, the Bulldogs finished with a season-high 95 against LSU. Playing in its first true road game of the season, Mississippi State reached the 58-point mark less than three minutes into the second half on a 3-pointer by Mario Kegler.
LSU: The Tigers continued to struggle on defense as they allowed at least 90 points for the third time in the past four games – all losses. LSU had given up 110 points to Wake Forest and 96 to Vanderbilt. The Tigers permitted Mississippi State to make 50 percent of its 3-point shots (11-of-22).
Mississippi State’s Howland made two lineup changes for Saturday’s game. He inserted Peters at point guard instead of Ready, who had missed practice the last couple of days with a knee injury, at point guard. He also used two 6-foot-10 players – Schnider Herard and Holman – in the lineup for the first time. Peters scored 15 points and handed out five assists, while Herard had eight points and four rebounds.
Reath had been held in check in LSU’s first two SEC games against Vanderbilt and Missouri with a total of 14 points and six rebounds. Reath rebounded with his third double-double of the season against Mississippi State. The 13 rebounds were one short of his season high, which came in the opener against Wofford.
Mississippi State had its best offensive game of the season Saturday with 95 points. The Bulldogs had not scored that many points in a SEC game in 26 seasons. Mississippi State defeated Tennessee 95-68 in Starkville in 1991. The last time the Bulldogs scored 95 points in a SEC road game took place 54 seasons ago. Mississippi State won at LSU 99-64 in 1963.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs will continue their two-game road swing with a game at Arkansas on Tuesday.
LSU: The Tigers, who have lost three of their last four games, will play at Texas A&M on Wednesday.