Weatherspoon's 25 lead Mississippi State to 80-68 win
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) Quinndary Weatherspoon knew Mississippi State needed a lift and was glad to provide it. He was also happy when his teammates chipped in.
Weatherspoon scored 19 of his career-high 25 points in the first half to lead the Bulldogs to an 80-68 victory over Boise State at the Charleston Classic on Friday night. It was a welcome result after Mississippi State lost to UCF – it trailed 47-19 in the first half – on Thursday night in their opening game at TD Arena.
''I was just looking for openings and finding others out there,'' Weatherspoon said. ''I was trying to create for others.''
The result was a satisfying win for the Bulldogs (2-1), who will face UTEP for fifth place in the eight-team tournament.
''We did a really good job bouncing back,'' Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said.
Weatherspoon was a main reason why.
After Boise State tied the game at 18-all , Weatherspoon scored 11 straight points to help the Bulldogs build a six-point lead, 29-23.
In the second half, all the Bulldogs got involved and grew the lead to 19 points on Weatherspoon's steal and breakaway dunk.
Boise State (1-2) could not get closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Tyson Carter added 15 points for Mississippi State, who had all five starters go for double figures.
Weatherspoon topped his old scoring mark of 24 points set against Vanderbilt last February.
Boise State coach Leon Rice said his team struggled with its shooting touch and played a long stretch of the first half without starting forward Nick Duncan, who took an elbow to the head and needed seven stitches to close up a bloody gash.
''We hung in there, but with Nick going out and the foul trouble, it was difficult,'' he said.
Weatherspoon, a quick, 6-foot-4 sophomore, made nine of 12 shots and added four steals and four rebounds.
Chandler Hutchison and Paris Austin had 13 points each to top Boise State.
Mississippi State recovered from an awful effort against UCF – the Bulldogs trailed by 28 points in the first half – to defeat Boise State. There are still plenty of issues that need attention, however. The Bulldogs settled for way too many outside shots (they were just 2 of 15 from behind the arc the first 20 minutes) and post players Schneider Herard, Aric Holman and E.J. Datcher all struggled with their touch around the basket, combining to go 6 of 15 from the field against the Broncos.
Boise State needs to find a second option when prime scorer Hutchison is off target, out of synch or on the bench with foul trouble as he was against Mississippi State. No one rose to the occasion for Boise State.
HEY, I KNOW YOU
The Mississippi State-UTEP matchup will reunite good friends and L.A. rivals in Bulldogs coach Ben Howland and Miners coach Tim Floyd – who battled each other in the West Coast, Howland as UCLA's coach and Floyd as USC leader. ''It's going to be a tough game,'' Howland said.
Quinndary Weatherspoon went to the bench holding his left wrist. But after a quick look and some tape, Weatherspoon returned to the court. Despite the ice pack on his wrist, Weatherspoon said he'd be ready to go for Sunday's game.
IT'S NEVER OVER
After Nick Duncan was stitched up, he returned to the court in a large, maroon bandage that looked like Sylvester Stallone's famous head band worn by his Rambo character in ''First Blood.'' ''Yeah, it was kind of stylish,'' he said of his head band.
Mississippi State will play UTEP for fifth place at the Charleston Classic on Sunday.
Boise State will play Western Michigan – an all-Broncos matchup – for seventh place at the Charleston Classic on Sunday.