By Miss. State Media Relations
PARIS, France – It was a European trip that started with a double-digit victory, and one that concluded with Mississippi State running past the French team Stade De Vanves on Saturday, 99-71.
The Bulldogs, who return home on Monday with a 5-0 ledger, led from start to finish and were paced in scoring by Arnett Moultrie and Deville Smith with 21 and 20 points respectively.
Moultrie also had 11 rebounds as he recorded his fourth double-double during this three-country swing that also featured stops in the Netherlands and Belgium.
“We came here and accomplished what we wanted, which was to win and improve,” 14th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “I really like what I saw on this trip, but at the same time, we have a lot of work to do. But these five games gave us a leg up.”
The Bulldogs bolted out to a quick 16-4 lead following six-straight points by Moultrie and led 29-18 after the first quarter.
If there was a negative in the game, it came early in the second quarter when senior guard Dee Bost fell awkwardly after making a shot in the paint to put his team up 31-19. He left the game for good with a right ankle sprain after scoring two points and dishing out four assists.
“I’ll be OK,” he said. “It’s the same ankle I’ve hurt before.”
With Bost out, Smith took over at the point and wreaked havoc on both ends of the floor, while his scoring production included three made 3s.
“With Dee out, I knew I had to step up,” the freshman from Callaway said. “We all had to make plays, and we did.”
At the half, the Bulldogs swelled their lead to 53-34. And if there was any doubt as to whom was going to win, it was erased early thanks to the tandem of Moultrie and Wendell Lewis, who totaled 11 points while grabbing 5 rebounds.
The two big men accounted for nine of MSU’s first 10 point in the second hass, as the lead was quickly push to 25 points. From there, the advantage never fell below 24 points, while the biggest lead was 89-56 on a 3-pointer by Rodney Hood.
“I thought we did a lot of good things on this trip and improved with every game,” said Moultrie, who averaged 16.8 points and 11.2 rebounds in the five games. “We know now what we have to do to get ready for Oct. 15.”
Rounding out the double-digit scoring for MSU was Jalen Steel with 11 points on three made 3-pointers and two free throws.