College basketball roundup: Mississippi State thumps Vandy; state’s small colleges struggle

Published 10:45 pm Saturday, January 19, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 17 points and No. 24 Mississippi State never trailed in routing struggling Vanderbilt 71-55 on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (14-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) have won two straight after dropping their first two games to open league play. They needed this victory as the first of back-to-back road games, with four of the next five away from Starkville.

Mississippi State has not fared well over the years at Memorial Gym, yet the Bulldogs left with the program’s 10th victory in the SEC’s oldest gym in 57 games here.
Tyson Carter and Aric Holman added 10 points apiece for the Bulldogs.

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The worst start to SEC play in school history has only gotten worse for Vanderbilt (9-8, 0-5).

Freshman Simisola Shittu, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer, missed his first five shots and finished with a season-low seven points, well below his 14.1-point average.

Saben Lee scored 13 points to lead the Commodores, and Aaron Nesmith added 11.

Mississippi State jumped out to a 10-0 lead and led by 15 during the first half, taking advantage of frigid shooting by the Commodores. Vanderbilt didn’t reach double digits until Matt Ryan hit a 3 with 7:24 to go, but the Commodores went on a 13-4 run to pull within 29-23 on a pair of free throws by Lee with 1:47 left.

That was as close as Vandy got as the Bulldogs scored six straight and led 35-27 at halftime, a lead nearly padded by a buzzer beater. Officials reviewed the shot by Lamar Peters and ruled it came too late.

Not that it mattered. Mississippi State shook off another cold-shooting stretch, with Vanderbilt only able to pull within 39-32 on a jumper by Joe Toye with 15:47 to go. Carter hit a 3 that jumpstarted the Bulldogs on a 13-2 spurt capped by a jumper by Robert Woodard II with 11:50 left.

The Bulldogs pushed that to 65-43 on a 3 by Holman with 6:03 remaining.

The Bulldogs came in having knocked down 10 or more 3s in four straight games, but they showed they could win despite struggling beyond the arc. They hit just 5 of 19 for the game. They won with defense, outscoring Vandy 18-2 off 14 turnovers. The Bulldogs have won all six games this season and 15 straight since February 2017 when holding an opponent to 60 points or fewer.

Old Dominion 78, Southern Miss 60
Ahmad Caver had 19 points, eight assists and four steals, B.J. Stith scored 17 with four 3-pointers, and Old Dominion beat Southern Miss.

The Monarchs have won 12 of their last 14 games.

Xavier Green added 13 points and five assists for Old Dominion (14-5, 4-2 Conference USA). The Monarchs went 10-of-26 from 3-point range, 10-of-20 at the free throw line and outrebounded Southern Miss 45-32.

The Monarchs ended the first half on a 25-7 run for a 40-29 lead after connecting on 7 of 16 shots from distance.

Tyree Griffin scored 20 points and dished out seven assists for Southern Miss (11-8, 3-4). Tim Rowe added 11 points and Leonard Harper-Baker grabbed 14 rebounds.

It was Southern Miss’s eighth road game in its last 10 contests.

Alcorn State 63, Mississippi Valley State 57
Devon Brewer scored 18 points with four rebounds and four blocked shots and Alcorn State picked up its first conference win by beating Mississippi Valley State.

There were nine lead changes in the second half. Alcorn State took the lead for good, 49-48, on a 3-pointer by Maurice Howard with 6:30 remaining and he added another 3-pointer for a four-point lead that the Braves held into the final minute. Howard split a pair of free throws for a 61-57 lead with 19 seconds left then added a pair eight seconds later to close the scoring.

Troymain Crosby, who earlier this season had the second triple-double in program history, had 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Maurice Howard also scored 15 for the Braves (5-12, 1-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference).

Gregory Jones-Rollins scored 11 points and LaCurtis Allen added 10 for the Delta Devils (3-15, 1-3), who had 17 assists on 22 field goals although they shot just 37 percent from the field.

The Delta Devils led 22-10 before Alcorn State rallied and scored the last seven points of the first half to trail 29-24 at halftime.

Prairie View 55, Jackson State 51
Dennis Jones made just one shot on Saturday night, a key 3-pointer with 15 seconds left that helped Prairie View A&M beat Jackson State and remain undefeated in Southwestern Athletic Conference play.

Jackson State led 49-48 when Devonte Patterson’s layup with 2:31 to play gave the Panthers the lead for good. The Tigers had possession with less than a minute to play, but Gary Blackston forced a turnover that set up Jones’ 3. Dontelius Ross missed a 3-point attempt for Jackson State and Antione Lister made two free throws with three seconds left to seal it.

Gerard Andrus scored 12 points for Prairie View A&M (6-11, 4-0 SWAC). Jones was 1-of-6 from the floor and had four assists and two steals. Blackston added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Lister chipped in 11 points and Patterson had nine.

Venjie Wallis scored 10 of his 14 points in first half for Jackson State (6-12, 3-2). Chris Howell added eight points, 13 rebounds and three assists.

Christian Brothers 90, Delta State 88
Despite Rasheide Bell’s career-high 28 points and a furious 27-9 run in the final 3:45 of the contest, Delta State saw its five-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of Christian Brothers on Saturday.

The Statesmen (12-5, 8-2 GSC) remained in first place in the Gulf South Conference standings despite the loss.

Christian Brothers’ Joe Laravie led all scorers with 37 points after going 7-of-11 from 3-point range. Christian Brothers shot 62 percent (31-for-50) from the field for the game, and was 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) from 3-point range.

Union 81, Mississippi College 62
Terrandus Smith scored 19 points, Tyladrius Parks had nine points and 10 rebounds, and Union (Tenn.) beat Mississippi College.

Dyllan Taylor led Mississippi College (4-10, 1-8 Gulf South Conference) with 18 points and Brandon Boston had 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Choctaws lost their seventh game in a row.

East Texas Baptist 95, Belhaven 61
Nathan Fontenot and Robby Dooley scored 17 points apiece, five East Texas Baptist players finished in double figures, and the Tigers routed Belhaven.

East Texas Baptist went 10-for-19 from 3-point range in the second half. Dooley had a double-double with 10 rebounds and also contributed five assists.

Brosnan Cooks led Belhaven (7-9, 2-7 American Southwest Conference) with 17 points and six rebounds, and Joseph Jones scored 12 points. Cooks and Jones were a combined 19-for-20 at the free throw line, but the Blazers were a dismal 3-for-23 from 3-point range.