Defense propels Miss. St. to 77-53 victory over Lafayette, 4th straight win

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP)—Ben Hansbrough scored 17 points and Jarvis Varnado had 16 points and 12 rebounds as Mississippi State held Lafayette College without a field goal for more than 7 1/2 minutes in the second half to beat the Leopards 77-53 victory on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (9-5) outscored the Leopards (8-6) 33-13 to end the game and win their fourth straight.

Jamont Gordon added 15 points and seven assists and Ravern Johnson keyed the game-clinching run with six of his 11 points.

Mississippi State used a 25-6 run that included three 3-pointers and a three-point play to take a 34-13 lead with 5:29 left in the first half. But the Leopards responded with a 12-3 run at the end of the first half to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 37-25 at the half.

They scored the first seven points of the second half and Bilal Abdullah scored five straight points to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 44-40 with 15:31 left in the game.

Mississippi State responded by holding Lafayette College to four free throws and no baskets over the next 7:41. Michael Gruner ended the slump with a field goal to make it 55-46, but the Bulldogs then launched an 18-2 run to clinch the victory.

Abdullah led the Leopards with 21 points and Everest Schmidt added 10.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Lafayette
B. Abdullah B. Abdullah
5-15,  21 Pts
3 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Mississippi St.
J. Varnado J. Varnado
5-5,  16 Pts
12 Rebs, 0 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

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Saturday, Jan 5