Mississippi St. 89, New Orleans 63
JACKSON, Miss. (AP)—Jamont Gordon scored 19 points and Charles Rhodes scored 25 off the bench as Mississippi State turned up the defensive pressure in an 89-63 win over New Orleans on Thursday.
The Bulldogs (9-2) held their opponent to less than 40 percent shooting for the ninth time in 11 games as they won their seventh straight. They held the Privateers (5-7) to 31 percent shooting and limited the nation’s No. 3 scorer Bo McCalebb to 16 points, 10 below his average.
Mississippi State was eighth in the nation and first in the Southeastern Conference in field-goal percentage defense coming into the game, allowing opponents to hit 35 percent of their shots, and only improved on its defensive numbers.
The Bulldogs allowed the Privateers six second-chance points, held a rebound advantage of 47-31 and blocked 15 shots.
The game was well out of reach by halftime after Mississippi State built a 50-27 lead. Mississippi State put together a 17-7 run midway through the first half, built mostly on transition baskets and a pair of 3-point field goals, and went into the locker room on a 9-2 run.
New Orleans was unable to rally in a second half filled with Mississippi State fastbreaks and dunks as the Bulldogs pulled away.
Jarvis Varnado had 13 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks for the Bulldogs. Rhodes finished with four blocks and Gordon added six assists.
Shaun Reynolds scored 17 for New Orleans and Jamie McNeilly added 13.