By Brad Locke | NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Troy was supposed to have the long-range firepower, but No. 17 Mississippi State took out its big guns in its most dominating performance of the season.
The Bulldogs (9-1) tied a school record for 3-pointers in a game with 16 (in 31 attempts) in a 106-68 win Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum. Point guard Dee Bost made seven 3-pointers, one shy of the school record, en route to a season-high 28-point outing.
“We didn’t go into this game thinking it was going to be like this, I can promise you,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “We really thought it could become a knock-down, drag-out game with their ability to shoot the 3-point shot.”
Troy (4-4) struggled from early on, however, and never found a groove shooting it. The Trojans, who entered the game leading the nation in 3-pointers made (12.0 per game), were 8 of 35 on Saturday.
Stansbury said he liked the way his team defended the 3-point shot, and Troy coach Don Maestri thought his team was a little intimidated.
“I think we were over-anxious, a little nervous,” Maestri said.
Emil Jones led Troy with 15 points.
Bost made 9 of 16 shots, including 7 of 13 behind the arc. State was just as overwhelming in the paint, where Arnett Moultrie had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Renardo Sidney notched 18 points.
Troy’s biggest starter is 6-foot-9 Tim Owens. “My ears and eyes kind of lit up when they told me how small they were,” Moultrie said.
Bulldogs kick it
Sidney, the Bulldogs’ 6-10 junior, drew a technical foul after mouthing off to an official, and the ensuing free throws pulled Troy within 25-19 in the first half.
After a Wendell Lewis dunk, Sidney hit a 3-pointer and threw down a dunk to help spark a 12-0 MSU run.
The spurt stretched to 19-2 as the Bulldogs reeled off a string of highlight plays. DeVille Smith’s layup made it a 44-21 game with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the half.
“We started relaxing a little bit more against that zone, started getting that ball inside,” said Stansbury. “We got stops defensively and got it out in transition.”
Jalen Steele had another solid game starting in place of Brian Bryant, who’s serving a three-game suspension, scoring 15 points and making 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Rodney Hood added 12 points and six assists with no turnovers.
MSU had 30 assists and 13 turnovers.