20-4 run helps lift Mississippi State over Florida A&M
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State used a balanced scoring attack Saturday and a 20-4 run to open the second half en route to a 79-48 win over Florida A&M.
Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Abdul Ado all had 12 points to lead Mississippi State (2-0). Tyson Carter added 10 points.
Ado added eight rebounds and three blocks in his first collegiate action after redshirting last season.
“Abdul and E.J. Datcher did a good job in the post and we did a much better hob attacking the post in the second half,” said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland. “It was great to have Abdul make his debut tonight for the Bulldogs, too. His physicality is really fun for me to coach.”
Marcus Barham had a game-high 15 points for Florida A&M (0-4) while Desmond Williams added 14 with eight rebounds.
Mississippi State led 28-17 at halftime and broke the game open with a 20-4 run to open the second half. The Bulldogs shot 53.2 percent for the game, including a 67.7 percent showing in the second half.
Florida A&M shot just 28.1 percent for the game and had 24 turnovers. Mississippi State blocked 13 shots, the most by the Bulldogs since blocking 13 against Arkansas in January of 2010. Schnider Herard had a career-high six blocks.
Ado sat out last season due to NCAA eligibility issues and missed the Bulldogs’ season opener because of a quad injury.
“It felt great,” said Ado. “It felt like this day wouldn’t come but it finally did. Before the game I was really nervous and my teammates told me it would be OK and it would be like practice. They told me to go out there and do what I do.”
Mississippi State jumped to a 15-2 lead before both teams struggled on offense the rest of the half. Florida A&M closed to 19-14 with 4:11 left in the first half, but Bulldogs eventually finished on a 9-3 run for a 28-17 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs were outrebounded 29-20 at halftime and allowed 14 offensive boards.
“I was really happy the way we started out the game, defensively,” said Howland. “Our defense kept us in the lead and we played pretty good defense.”
Florida A&M held a 42-38 advantage on the boards but got just three offensive boards in the second half.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs opened its hectic slate Saturday in a stretch that includes three games in five days. While that is normal for the non-conference slate, it does leave the Bulldogs anxious about their depth issues. Junior Xavian Stapleton is listed day-to-day with a sprained knee and Eli Wright also did not play Saturday because of a suspension. Before the season opened, the Bulldogs had only 11 scholarship players on the roster.
Florida A&M: After playing four games on the road to open the season, the Rattlers seek to collect their first win on Monday in their home debut. The Rattlers have faced a challenging non-conference schedule thus far and have dropped games to the likes of UNLV, Miami and now Mississippi State. Florida A&M will also face Power 5 programs Texas and Georgia Tech later in the non-conference schedule.
Mississippi State returns to action Monday as the Bulldogs host a first-ever meeting with Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Florida A&M will make its home debut on Monday and will host Albany State.