By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Whatever works on a given night is good enough for Rick Stansbury.
On Monday, his Mississippi State team got the kind of scoring help it had been lacking and held on to beat Detroit, 82-76, in front of 4,221 at Humphrey Coliseum.
State (3-0) saw a 73-61 lead nearly evaporate when the Titans (1-3) went on a 12-3 run behind the hot hand of guard Jason Calliste. MSU led 76-73 after a Calliste layup with 1 minutes, 18 seconds to go, but Detroit got no closer.
MSU hit 6 of 8 free throws in the final 32 seconds, including two by freshman Jalen Steele for an 81-76 lead with 10.1 seconds left.
“Nothing comes easy for us, it’s very obvious,” Stansbury said. “But again, I’m proud that we found ways to get a W.”
Senior Ravern Johnson scored a game-high 25 points, and that wasn’t surprising, but senior Riley Benock chipped in a career-high 13 points, sophomore Twany Beckham had a career-high nine to go with six assists. Steele also scored nine.
With guard Dee Bost and big man Renardo Sidney on the bench with NCAA suspensions, the Bulldogs are needing more scoring support around Johnson and senior forward Kodi Augustus, who was held to 10 points.
MSU got 21 points from its bench.
“We’ve said we need right now, in this stretch, we need to get 45 points between Kodi and Ravern each night, and that’s a bunch of points,” Stansbury said. “Tonight’s the first night we didn’t do it, we got 35. But somebody else stepped up and gave us some points.”
Benock made 5 of 9 shots, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. Once a hesitant shooter, he’s finally starting to assert himself out of necessity.
“I’ve been here four years, and this is the first time really that he’s been shooting like that,” said Johnson, who made 10 of 15 shots. “I’m loving it, because a lot of guys can play off of him. It’s a lot of easy points for us.”
MSU out-rebounded Detroit, 41-35, and did a solid job on 6-foot-10, 255-pound junior Eli Holman. He was averaging 17.7 points coming in but was held to five Monday; his first bucket didn’t come until the 17:26 mark of the second half.
It was a torrid pace early on as the teams traded buckets, but MSU eventually opened up a 40-32 halftime lead.
“We got caught up in playing Mississippi State’s game,” Detroit coach Ray McCallum said. “With the athletes they have, with the depth they have on the perimeter, it seems like they felt comfortable getting up and down.”
Castille led Detroit with 20 points, while Simon Chase had 17 and freshman point guard Ray McCallum, the coach’s son, added 16.
MSU returns to action Friday against Troy. Tipoff at the Hump is 6 p.m.