Mississippi State crushes listless Rebels

Published 10:12 pm Saturday, February 17, 2018

STARKVILLE (AP) — Mississippi State came out motivated to get back in the NCAA Tournament chase on Saturday night.

Ole Miss had the look of a team — again — ready to pack it in for the season.

Quinndary Weatherspoon had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Mississippi State hit 12 3-pointers as it routed archrival Ole Miss 79-62 at Humphrey Coliseum.

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After two last-second losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt, Mississippi State (19-8, 7-7 Southeastern Conference) made sure it didn’t come down to that again.

The Bulldogs shot 56.4 percent (31-for-55) from the field for the game.

The Bulldogs drilled their first five attempts behind the arc en route to building an early 18-8 advantage. Ole Miss managed to cut the lead to 21-15 at the midway point of the first half due to back-to-back buckets from Bruce Stevens.

Mississippi State, however, responded with a 10-0 run thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Weatherspoon. The Bulldogs maintained that comfortable lead for the rest of the half and led 44-23 at halftime.

Mississippi State shot 55.2 percent in the first half and made 8 of 13 shots beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs kept their NCAA Tournament hopes on life support and have two RPI-building games left with Texas A&M and Tennessee. MSU also snapped a four-game losing streak to Ole Miss.

Ole Miss shot just 27 percent in the first half and was 2-for-13 from 3-point range.

Breein Tyree led Ole Miss (11-16, 4-10) with 15 points. Deandre Burnett had 13 points and Stevens 11 for the Rebels, who have dropped seven straight games and nine of their last 11.

Since Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy announced last Monday that he was resigning at the end of the season, the Rebels have lost by 21 points at home to Arkansas and by 17 on the road to Mississippi State.

Ole Miss need to win its last four regular-season games and at least one in the SEC Tournament to avoid its first losing season in Kennedy’s 12-year tenure.