Weatherspoon leads Mississippi St past Little Rock 64-48
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 21 points and surpassed 1,000 points to lead Mississippi State to a 64-48 win over Little Rock on Wednesday night.
Aric Holman added 10 points for Mississippi State (10-1) while Abdul Ado had a career-high 13 rebounds.
Little Rock (3-10) did not have any player in double figures and had 21 turnovers that were turned into 27 points. Damir Hadzic led the Trojans with 9 points.
”I thought Little Rock did some smart things in the first half and they tried to grind us down,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. ”Little Rock had a lot of shots in the last 10 seconds of the shot clock and they had some changes with their defense. It bothered us some and their man defense bothered us some. But we did a better job in the second half of getting the ball in the post and going inside-out.”
Weatherspoon was 7 of 11 from the floor and was 6 of 6 at the free throw line. The junior guard became the 37th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
”We came out flat in the first half and that’s something we got to change,” Weatherspoon said. ”Once we get to halftime then we see what it takes and we get our mind right. We come out and play hard in the second half. If we could just play in the first half like we do in the second half then it could be even better.”
The first half was back-and-forth with seven lead changes and the biggest lead for either team was six points. Mississippi State went without a field goal for the last 8:27 of the first half but managed to hold a 26-23 advantage at halftime.
The Bulldogs shot just 24 percent in the first half while the Trojans shot 35.7 percent from the field. Mississippi State did make 11 free throws in the first half and Little Rock failed to convert a free throw in the opening 20 minutes.
Mississippi State scored the first six points of the second half and a 10-0 run, which featured dunks by Ado, Holman and Weatherspoon, broke the game open, making it 50-31 with 11:03 to play.
”Q (Weatherspoon) did a really good job today,” said Howland. ”He was cramping up, though, and I played him a lot of minutes in the first half. But he kept pacing us in the second half and scored four points right away in the second half. That got us in a rhythm and got us going.”
The Bulldogs shot 52 percent in the second half (16 for 31) after a 24 percent (6 of 25) first half. Little Rock shot 37 percent for the game and made just 4 of 10 free throws. The Trojans also struggled from distance, making 4 of 20.
Mississippi State held a 40-35 advantage on the backboards and outscored the Trojans 27-10 off turnovers.
Little Rock: The Trojans lost five of their last six games and have not recorded a win over a Division 1 foe since Nov. 29th.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs now have the program’s best start since the 2011-12 season.
Little Rock is off until Dec. 29, a home game against Louisiana.
Mississippi State travels to Jackson on Saturday to face in-state foe Southern Miss.
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