Mississippi State rips North Texas; Alcorn State falls to Northern Iowa

Published 9:36 pm Sunday, December 17, 2023

TUPELO (AP) — KeShawn Murphy scored 18 points off the bench, Cameron Matthews was all over the stat sheet, and Mississippi State defeated North Texas 72-54 on Sunday.

Matthews had nine points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks. D.J. Jeffries had 13 points and was the only starter to reach double figures in scoring. Josh Hubbard, another reserve for the Bulldogs (9-2), scored 11 points.

Mississippi State led 36-32 at halftime after North Texas shot 54 percent to keep up with the Bulldogs. The second half was a different story as MSU outscored North Texas 36-22 and the Mean Green made only five field goals in 23 tries (21.7 percent). For the game, Mississippi State shot 41.7 percent to 38.3 percent for North Texas.

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“I just thought they kind of stayed the course defensively, and then obviously, as the game unfolded, our athleticism and our speed and our size got into the game,” Mississippi State coach Chris Jans said.

Rubin Jones scored 20 points, Jason Edwards 11 and Aaron Scott 10 for North Texas (5-5).

The Bulldogs had runs of 12-0 and 9-0 in the second half to blow the game open.

Jeffries scored six quick points, and the team cruised with contributions from everyone. Defensively, the Bulldogs were able to limit North Texas to just five field goals in the second half and forced 16 turnovers in the contest while committing just three of their own.

“We just kept playing defense,” Jeffries said. “We started scoring a little more. Like Coach Jans told us this whole week, just play harder than them.”

Mississippi State made the trek to Tupelo for the first time in over a decade and the Bulldogs improved to 5-0 at their alternate home. The Bulldogs will next play on Dec. 23, against Rutgers at the Gotham Classic in Newark, N.J.

North Texas hosts UT Arlington on Saturday.

Northern Iowa 100, Alcorn State 82
Nate Heise had 24 points as Northern Iowa defeated Alcorn State on Sunday.

Heise was 8-of-9 shooting, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range, and went 3-for-3 from the line for the Panthers (5-7). Tytan Anderson added 22 points while going 7-of-8 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line, and he also had five rebounds and five assists. Bowen Born finished with 17 points and six assists.

Alcorn State shot a solid 53.6 percent from the field, but couldn’t keep up with Northern Iowa’s 56.7 percent pace. Northern Iowa was also 18-for-21 from the free throw line and 14-for-29 from 3-point range.

The Braves (1-10) were led in scoring by Jeremiah Kendall, who finished with 23 points and six rebounds. Jeremiah Gambrell added 20 points and, Stephen Byard and Roderick Jones had 12 each.

The loss was the Braves’ ninth straight. They’ll stay in Iowa to play Drake on Tuesday at 7 p.m.