STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)—Louisiana Tech found out how dominant Mississippi State can be without center Mario Austin.
Michael Ignerski had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the No. 24 Bulldogs to a 78-38 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
Mississippi State won its fifth straight without Austin, who is sidelined while the NCAA determines his eligibility for the season. A decision is expected Tuesday.
Ontario Harper added 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulldogs (5-1), who held Louisiana Tech (1-2) scoreless for nearly 11 minutes.
Antonio Meeking led Tech with 11 points and six rebounds.
“As a coach, you have to be very pleased with that effort,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “Louisiana Tech is a very good basketball team. I thought our team, defensively, came out and absolutely took away all their strengths.”
Mississippi State opened the second half with a 20-0 run, punctuated by a jumper from Harper with 18:44 remaining.
Louisiana Tech shot only 23 percent from the field, including 4-for-26 (15.4 percent) in the second half. Tech missed 11 straight shots to start the second half.
“I think Mississippi State has a chance to be really great, especially if they get Austin back along with what they already have going,” Louisiana Tech coach Keith Richard said. “They are a Top 10 team and they had a lot to do with our problems today.”
Mississippi shot less than 39 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line, but outrebounded Louisiana Tech 56-29.
Louisiana Tech led only once, at 3-2.
Mississippi State then went on a 12-1 run and Louisiana Tech never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
“Team defense was there all night,” Mississippi State guard Timmy Bowers said. “We executed on offense and played with a lot of intensity over the whole game. We knew they would be the best team we faced all year. So we took that to heart and jumped on them early.”