STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)—A fiery pep talk from their ejected coach did nothing to get the Mississippi State Bulldogs going.
If anything, seeing Rick Stansbury get tossed five minutes into the game seemed to leave the Bulldogs flummoxed.
When No. 7 Mississippi State finally regained its poise, and stopped trying to go shot-for-shot with Mississippi, the Rebels never had a chance.
Lawrence Roberts scored 24 points and the Bulldogs pulled away from Ole Miss in the second half for an 80-56 victory Saturday.
Mississippi State (19-1, 8-1 Southeastern Conference) has won six straight against Ole Miss and six in a row overall.
Unable to matchup effectively with the more athletic Bulldogs, Ole Miss (11-9, 3-6) tried to turn the game into a scrum with its rough-and-tumble style.
It worked for a while as the Rebels were up by as much as nine in the first half after Stansbury was tossed for two technical fouls.
“I put (the Bulldogs) in a pretty tough situation early in the game,” Stansbury said. “Once they grabbed their composure, it was a totally different ballgame.”
In the second half, the Bulldogs simply ran away from the Rebels.
It started with an 13-2 run, capped by Roberts’ follow slam of Winsome Frazier’s miss to put Mississippi State up 44-33 with 14:20 left.
Mississippi State forced the tempo by forcing turnovers.
“The biggest thing was we were just standing around on offense,” said Bulldogs guard Timmy Bowers, who had 14 points. “I think that’s what they want you to do. They get to playing you so physical, chucking you on screens and things like that. Once we picked it up on defense, our offense came through.”
As the lead expanded, Ole Miss tried a trap to slow down the Bulldogs. That just made it worse and turned the game into layup-fest for Mississippi State.
“I made the decision to try to press to get back into the game or we were going to lose it,” Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. “We could have made this an 11-point game, but what good does that do?”
Shane Power made a slick reverse layup, Branden Vincent got to the hole for an easy one off the glass and Power got free again for a third straight press-breaking basket to make it 64-45 with 5:18 left.
Power had 15 points and Frazier added 12 for the Bulldogs, who shot 16-for-26 in the second half.
Aaron Harper scored 16 for Ole Miss, but also had eight of the Rebels’ 23 turnovers.
The Bulldogs and Rebels generally play spirited and rugged games, but the first half was one of the more eventful in recent history.
Less than three minutes into the game, Stansbury got a quick technical from Karl Hess for arguing a charging foul on Vincent.
Stansbury got his second tech without saying a word two minutes later.
It started with Bowers getting called for traveling, while trying to split a double-team. He also took a shot to the head and stayed down for about 30 seconds.
Stansbury walked across the court to check on his player, though Bowers was getting up by the time the coach got passed midcourt.
Standing by himself, Stansbury stared at Hess, who was about 25 feet away, tapped his hand on his opposite arm to suggest a foul should have been called, and shrugged.
Hess T’ed him up and Stansbury fumed.
“A lot of times I deserve technical fouls,” Stansbury said. “I’m going to try to be nice, but that one there, I absolutely didn’t deserve that one.”
He screamed at Hess, then gathered his players around for an animated sermon. Red-faced, Stansbury finally departed, but before leaving he turned to Hess and gave a choke sign, putting his hands to his throat.
The tirade fired up the sellout crowd, but did nothing for his team.
Ole Miss scored the next eight points to go up 10-6.
“They tried to rattle us once coach got out and any time you lose a coach you’re going to get rattled a little bit. We had to fight through that,” Roberts said.
With Tommie Eddie scoring eight points inside and reserve Kendrick Fox dropping in two 3s, Ole Miss built a 29-22 lead with 2:12 left.
The Bulldogs recovered and finished a half that had 24 fouls called, 16 against Ole Miss, by scoring the final nine points.
“I think we came up with a game plan that we didn’t stick to,” Harper said.
Ole Miss leading scorer Justin Reed was in foul trouble all game and finished with 10 points. The Rebels have lost three straight.