By Logan Lowery/Special to the Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State’s men continue to play well inside the friendly confines of Humphrey Coliseum.
All three of the Bulldogs victories have come at home, with the third on Tuesday night, a 53-42 win over Texas-San Antonio.
MSU (3-5) received another stellar outing from senior center Wendell Lewis down low. Lewis followed up his career-high 16 points against Providence with a 20-point effort on Tuesday.
“I took the same approach I had on Saturday,” Lewis said. “I went out there and worked hard and crashed. If I didn’t get it in the post, I went hard to the glass trying to help the team out trying to get an extra attempt.”
Lewis was 8 of 9 shooting in 26 minutes off the bench.
The Bulldogs shot 45.7 percent from the floor but were just 3 of 13 behind the arc. Craig Sword added 13 points while Fred Thomas chipped in nine in the win.
Colin Borchert led State in rebounding with 10 boards in 26 minutes off the bench.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half and even went nearly seven minutes without scoring a basket. The game remained with the Bulldogs holding a 16-14 lead from the 8:21 mark until 1:49 before halftime. In that span, the teams combined for 15 missed shots, two missed free throws and 12 turnovers.
“We’ve been talking to our guys for quite some time that we’ve got to go out and win some ugly basketball games,” said MSU head coach Rick Ray. “We struggle offensively and make some bad decision and have a young team. But I thought our guys tried to pass the basketball and didn’t get selfish with it and take it upon their own interest when things got bad offensively. The defensive effort was tremendous.”
Mississippi State went into the locker room with a 23-17 advantage.
The Bulldogs went on to outscore UTSA 30-25 in the second half shooting 50-percent from the field.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Roadrunners, who dropped to 3-5 on the year. Texas-San Antonio shot 27.3-percent for the game and committed 20 turnovers.
Kannon Burrage paced the Roadrunners with 15 points on 4 of 18 shooting. Hyjii Thomas chipped in 10 points in 20 minutes off the bench while Jeromie Hill contributed eight.
“You’ve got to give Mississippi State credit where it’s due,” USTA coach Brooks Thompson said. “They held us to 42 points, but obviously, you look at our percentages and we missed a lot of open looks. Shots we usually hit.”
MSU will have 10 days before their next outing, Dec. 15 in Chicago against Loyola.