Mississippi St 78, Georgia St 54

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JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (TICKER) —Mario Austin scored 24 points and Timmy Bowers added 11 as 17th-ranked Mississippi State rolled to its seventh straight victory, 78-54 over Georgia State.

Austin was making his debut at “home,” although the game was played at the Mississippi Coliseum. He missed the first six games before receiving academic clearance from the NCAA and had a stellar season debut on Saturday in New York with 28 points in a victory over Xavier.

Georgia State (3-4) stayed close behind a huge first half by Cedric Patton and were within 43-37 at halftime. Patton scored 17 of his career-high 21 points before intermission.

Austin scored the first six points for Mississippi State (7-1) in a 13-4 run that opened the second half and extended the lead to 56-41. The Panthers scored the next seven points to get within eight.

But Winsome Frazier had six points as the Bulldogs ran off the next 15 for a 71-48 advantage. Austin and Michal Ignerski had thunderous dunks during the spurt.

Georgia State was held scoreless for more than 7 1/2 minutes during that stretch.

Austin made 10-of-16 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds as he met little resistance from the smaller Panthers. He notched his eight career double-double and had eight offensive rebounds.

Bowers was the only other Bulldog in double figures and he drilled three 3-pointers. Derrick Zimmerman handed out 10 assists, his third career double-digit effort.

Ontario Harper led Mississippi State with 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs held a 52-21 advantage on the glass. They shot 47.5 percent (29-of-61).

Lamont McIntosh scored 13 points for Georgia State, which faces another ranked team Saturday with a visit to Oklahoma. The Panthers managed just seven baskets in the second half.

The game was the first played in Jackson by Mississippi State since a 105-53 rout of Arkansas-Pine Bluff on November 17, 1998 in coach Rick Stansbury’s debut. The Bulldogs drew a sellout crowd of 6,592, many of whom attended an open shootaround on Tuesday.

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