No. 22 Mississippi State hosts McNeese State
Buoyed by its first true road win, a 65-58 victory at Dayton on Friday, No. 22 Mississippi State enters Tuesday's game at home against McNeese State with a better feel for its shooting potential.
Dayton had a seven-point lead with less than six minutes remaining before Mississippi State (6-1) played efficiently on the offensive end down the stretch.
Sophomore guard Nick Weatherspoon made two 3-pointers in the final two minutes, and junior guard Lamar Peters also made a shot from that range. Weatherspoon finished with 14 points while Peters had a season-high five assists.
Senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with 21 points and 12 rebounds, numbers that overshadowed his seven turnovers.
"Good to win on the road in a great environment," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. "I'm proud of the poise and resilience we showed down the stretch.
"Both Weatherspoons were great. Lamar was great at the point with eight assists and some really smart basketball plays down the stretch."
The 21 points marked Quinndary Weatherspoon's fourth game of 20-plus points this season. He has cracked the program's top 10 scoring list, eclipsing Tony Watts (1989-92), Craig Sword (2013-16) and Jerry Jenkins (1973-75) and now has 1,506 career points.
Mississippi State is 18-2 overall and has won 10 straight games when Weatherspoon has amassed 20-plus points since the start of the 2017-18 season.
McNeese State came close to its first Division I win of the season against North Carolina Central on Saturday, but it could not keep a seven-point lead getting outscored 10-2 in the final two minutes to lose 67-66.
The Cowboys (2-5) posted one of its best second halves of the season in terms of shooting (65.4 percent) but missed free throws down the stretch.
"I'm disappointed in the outcome but happy with our effort after a long trip and a quick turnaround," said head coach Heath Schroyer, referencing McNeese's game at SMU on Thursday night and flight to North Carolina on Friday. "I thought we really executed in the second half. Unfortunately, we haven't learned how to win these games yet."
Sha'Markus Kennedy led the Cowboys with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double on the season. James Harvey added 19 points behind 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, and Kevin Hunt added 10 points.
Howland said last week that he wants his team to get to the free throw line more. Mississippi State only attempted 10 foul shots against Dayton, but the Bulldogs made eight of them.
The Bulldogs held Dayton to 41.4 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers.
Mississippi State is in the midst of playing only three games over a two-week period. After Tuesday's game they play Clemson at Newark, N.J., on Saturday and then they host Cincinnati the following Saturday (Dec. 15).
Updated December 4, 2018