No. 17 Mississippi St. 106, Troy 68

Troy’s veteran coach Don Maestri remembers the last time he saw

a Mississippi State team this talented.

It was 1996. The Bulldogs went to the NCAA Final Four.

”They might not have as much experience, but the players?”

Maestri said. ”Absolutely as talented.”

Dee Bost scored a season-high 28 points, Arnett Moultrie added

20 points and 12 rebounds and No. 17 Mississippi State cruised to a

106-68 victory over Troy on Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bulldogs (9-1) won their eighth straight game, shooting 56.3

percent (40 of 71) from the field, including 51.6 percent (16 of

31) from 3-point range. Renardo Sidney added a season-high 18

points and eight rebounds, Jalen Steele scored 15 and Rodney Hood

12.

The five MSU starters combined for 93 points and 29

rebounds.

”We’re not nearly as good as we’ve got to become,” Mississippi

State coach Rick Stansbury said. ”But one of our greatest

strengths is our versatility.”

Bost shot 9 of 16 from the field, including 7 of 13 from 3-point

range. The 6-foot-2 senior guard added nine assists and three

rebounds.

Moultrie posted his fifth double-double of the season. He shot 9

of 14 from the field and had five assists. Mississippi State

dominated in the paint, outscoring Troy 42-26.

”My ears and eyes kind of perked up when I heard how small they

were,” Moultrie said.

The Bulldogs were terrific from outside as well – their 16

3-pointers tied a school record. They also had 30 assists to just

13 turnovers.

Troy (4-4) was led by Emil Jones’ 15 points. Will Weathers

scored 10 and R.J. Scott added 10. Ray Chambers had eight points

and 11 rebounds. The Trojans trailed by 47 points at one point in

the second half, unable to keep up with Mississippi State’s

fast-paced offense.

Troy also struggled with its shooting, making just 8 of 35 (22.9

percent) shots from 3-point range.

”We took away their strength – the 3-point shot,” Stansbury

said.

Maestri said there were two good things Troy could take the

blowout. The first was that the Trojans responded from the early

trouble with a solid 10-minute stretch to start the second half.

The second?

”It’s over,” Maestri said with wry grin.

Mississippi State was occasionally sloppy with its

decision-making in the first half, but shot so well that it didn’t

matter. The Bulldogs made 61.1 percent (22 of 36) of their shots

from the field, including 53.3 percent (8 of 15) from 3-point range

on the way to a 54-26 halftime lead. Steele and Moultrie had 12

first-half points.

The Bulldogs didn’t stop there, with 52 second-half points. They

pushed past the 100-point mark with 4:54 left in the game Sidney’s

two-handed dunk. The final total would have undoubtedly been

higher, but Stansbury emptied his bench with more than four minutes

remaining.

Sidney continued his enigmatic play, with good moments mixed

with bad ones. The 6-foot-10 forward looked lethargic in the

opening minutes and earned a technical foul after an off-color

comment. But then he responded with a 3-pointer and a thunderous

one-handed dunk on back-to-back possessions that served as a

reminder of how good he can be.

Steele made five 3-pointers, which tied a career-high. The

6-foot-3 sophomore guard is often the forgotten starter, but it’s

the third straight game he’s scored at least 10 points.

He suffered a season-ending knee injury against LSU, tearing the

ACL in his left knee, but is fully recovered and playing the best

basketball of his young career.

”I that that’s three or four games in a row that he’s been

zeroed in,” Stansbury said. ”Now when the ball leaves his hands

we expect it to go in. A few weeks ago you didn’t know – and he

didn’t know. But now he’s got some confidence and he believes in

his shot.”

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