STARKVILLE – If there was any hangover from Mississippi State’s first SEC loss it was not evident Monday night.
The 10th-ranked Bulldogs enjoyed their largest margin of victory over in-state rival Ole Miss 79-51 in front of 7,128 fans, the second-largest crowd in school history.
“I’m really proud of my kids and thought they played extremely hard,” said MSU coach Vic Schaefer. “I thought we came out and punched first and unlike the other night (against Missouri), we kept punching.”
The Bulldogs (17-2, 4-1 SEC) shot 49.1 percent from the field and outscored Ole Miss 38-14 in the paint. Chinwe Okorie at 6-foot-5 scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds while back-up Teaira McCowan at 6-foot-7 added 10 points, four boards and three blocks in 11 minutes off the bench.
“There’s my two-headed monster,” Schaefer said. “They had 24 points and 11 rebounds, that’s a pretty good night. They were both 5 for 6 (shooting) at that position.”
Morgan William paced State in scoring with 16 points on 3 of 4 shooting and 9 of 10 from the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs jumped out of the gate with a 13-4 lead only to watch Ole Miss answer with an 11-4 run of its own to close out the first quarter, cutting the deficit to 17-15. The Rebels were also able to get the SEC’s leading scorer, Victoria Vivians, into early foul trouble.
But Mississippi State bounced back to outscore the Rebels 22-8 in the second quarter and took a 39-23 lead into the locker room.
“I loved where we were and thought we had a good first quarter,” said Ole Miss coach Matt Insell. “But again, we only scored eight points in the second quarter. We shot ourselves in the foot on little bitty things like missing layups.”
Ole Miss (9-9, 1-4 SEC) shot 33.9 percent and its bench was outscored 29-8. Shandricka Sessom paced the Rebels with 14 points while Madinah Muhammad added 10 points.
Ole Miss hosts No. 9 Kentucky Thursday at 8 p.m. on SEC Network while the Bulldogs welcome No. 2 South Carolina Sunday at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.