Mississippi St. 90, Nicholls St. 55
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)—Mississippi State, with four players scoring 14 points apiece, shook off a sluggish first half Saturday to defeat Nicholls State 90-55 in their home opener.
Mississippi State (1-0), despite turning the ball over 29 times, outscored the Colonels 53-18 in the final 18 minutes, breaking open a close game. Jamont Gordon, Reginald Delk, Charles Rhodes and Barry Stewart paced the balanced effort with 14 points each for the Bulldogs.
Aaron Scott had 16 points and Ryan Bathie added 15 points, 13 in the first half, for Nicholls State (0-1). The Colonels battled to a 37-37 tie early in the second half, but managed only eight baskets the rest of the way.
Mississippi State shot 33-of-51, 65 percent, from the field, including 13-of-27 from three-point range. Seven different players hit three-point shots for the Bulldogs, including four by Gordon.
Mississippi State led 34-31 at halftime, despite turning the ball over 18 times in the half.
Nicholls State pulled into a 37-37 on an Adonis Gray jumper with 17:47 left. Mississippi State responded with an 11-0 run, highlighted by a pair of three-point shots by Gordon, that provided an insurmountable 48-37 lead with 15:04 left.
Nicholls State never got closer than nine points again. Mississippi State continued to pull away, building their biggest lead with four seconds remaining on a layup by Bernard Rimmer.
Mississippi State improved to 30-3 against teams from the Southland Conference. The Bulldogs are 8-1 in home openers under Rick Stansbury.