STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State shook off a lackluster start to cruise to victory Monday night in the Humphrey Coliseum.
The eighth-ranked Bulldogs built a comfortable lead early and cruised to an 81-41 win against Southeastern Louisiana in the first game back from Christmas break.
“We looked flat,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “It’s hard to look flat coming off Christmas break. Right now, we don’t have those one or two people who grab everyone else and tell them that we need to get it together.”
Chinwe Okorie and Victoria Vivians each scored 13 points to pace the Bulldogs. Morgan William and Blair Schaefer each added 12 points. The Bulldogs shot 35.5 percent from the floor and committed 14 turnovers.
“We have to find a way to play better,” William said. “We need to have better intensity. It needs to start right now because we have to all pick our game up.”
The Bulldogs won their seventh-straight game and improved to 12-1 on the season. State has now won 45 of its last 47 regular-season non-conference tilts and improved to 53-11 at Humphrey Coliseum under Schaefer.
MSU used a 10-0 run to build an early 12-2 lead. A 3-point play by Sherise Williams ran the lead to 20-9 with 1:51 left in the first quarter.
In the opening quarter, Southeastern Louisiana (1-10) was held to one field goal but managed to get to the line 12 times (making 10).
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs had a prolonged struggle from the field. MSU only hit five field goals and eased into halftime with a 41-25 lead.
The Bulldogs played better on the defensive end in the third quarter but still struggled to make shots on a consistent basis. A layup by Okorie ran the lead to 47-27. The Bulldogs allowed nine points in the third quarter and led 57-34 after the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, back-to-back 3-point baskets by Schaefer and a follow-up three by Vivians helped spark a game-ending 15-2 run.
“We did a better job of executing on offense in the fourth quarter,” Schaefer said. “If you have 30 offensive rebounds, you have to score more points than we did.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 27 of 76 shots from the field (35.5 percent), 9 of 25 shots from 3-point range (36.0 percent) and 18 of 28 shots from the foul line (64.3 percent). The Lady Lions hit 12 of 55 shots from the field (21.8 percent), 3 of 16 shots from 3-point range (18.8 percent) and 14 of 18 shots from the foul line (77.8 percent).
MSU held a 60-37 rebounding advantage, claiming a season high on the boards. The Bulldogs had 18 assists and 14 turnovers, while the Lady Lions had six assists and 24 turnovers.
MSU closes out the 2015 portion of its schedule by facing No. 17/20 South Florida Wednesday in the SEC/AAC Challenge. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. CT in Jacksonville, Florida. The game will be carried nationally on the SEC Network.
(From MSU Media Relations)