Vivians leads MSU past Savannah State

Mississippi State forward Victoria Vivians (35) attempts a shot as Savannah State guard Kenyata Hendrix (2) defends in the first half. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State forward Victoria Vivians (35) attempts a shot as Savannah State guard Kenyata Hendrix (2) defends in the first half. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

No. 8 Mississippi State capped its season-opening five-game homestand with a 92-25 win against Savannah State Sunday afternoon the Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bulldogs won their 10th straight game at home, which is the second longest active streak in the Southeastern Conference after Tennessee fell at home to Texas, MSU’s opponent on Wednesday in Austin, 64-53.

Victoria Vivians led the offensive attack with a season-high 27 points on 10 of 18 shooting. The Wooden Award candidate is averaging 20.8 ppg the last four games. During that span she is 31 of 56 (55.4 percent) from the floor, including 15 of 30 (50 percent) from 3-point range.

Sophomore Kayla Nevitt also finished in double figures with 12 points. Freshman Teaira McCowan had her fourth straight game with 10 or more rebounds as she had a team-high 12 boards. McCowan scored eight points to barely miss a potential fourth straight double-double.

Sophomore Morgan William had a career-high 11 assists, which tied for the sixth most in a game in program history and matched the most ever by a Bulldog sophomore.

“Defensively, we were good at times today,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “If you hold someone to 25 points, you are doing something right. I was really pleased with Victoria tonight. She was 10 of 18 from the field and took some really good shots. She was also really good on the defensive end.

“I feel really good about our team right now. We have some really good chemistry. We shared the basketball tonight (27 assists on 31 made shots). I am excited about Wednesday (at No. 8 Texas). Everyone wants to know how good we are, and we will certainly find out Wednesday night.”

MSU started the defensive success early, and it led to the Bulldogs allowing the second-fewest points (25) and field goals (8) in program history. The Tigers were held close to six minutes before finally hitting a field goal. An offensive rebound and two free throws by Ketara Chapel ran the lead to 10-2 early.

In the opening quarter, Savannah State hit 2 of 19 shots from the field and trailed 20-5 at the end of the quarter.

A 10-0 run by the Maroon and White pushed the advantage to 32-6 midway through the second quarter. Blair Schaefer hit a 3-pointer and Sherise Williams scored on a putback to close the run.

MSU held a commanding 48-12 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Bulldogs were able to finish with 13 players playing and 12 of them scoring. The reserves continued to play with a spark while the passing the ball and playing tough defense.

“It’s fun to see us passing the ball to teammates and seeing them get great shots,” William said. “We don’t have to create our shots or force shots. Coach tells us an extra pass is what makes a good shot become a great shot.”

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 31 of 71 shots from the field (43.7 percent), 11 of 22 shots from 3-point range (50.0 percent) and 19 of 23 shots from the foul line (82.6 percent). The Tigers hit 8 of 47 shots from the field (17.0 percent), 0 of 4 shots from 3-point range (0 percent) and 9 of 14 shots from the foul line (64.3 percent).

MSU held a 52-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 27 assists and 10 turnovers, while the Tigers had one assist and 27 turnovers.

Savannah State (1-3) received a game-high eight points from Chelsea Frazier.

MSU will face its first nationally-ranked opponent Wednesday night when it travels to Austin to meet the eighth-ranked Longhorns. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. with the game being shown nationally on the Longhorn Network and online on ESPN3.

(From MSU Media Relations)

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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