USA TODAY Sports
You know that bad dream you've had when you can't score any points in the first half? Yeah, that game almost happened tonight when Missouri came to Starkville.
Mississippi State (7-16, 2-9) knew they were in over their heads with Missouri (18-6, 7-4) when they missed their first 11 shots and didn't score until the 10:35 mark in the first half. By that time, the Tigers had already put 14 points. From there, a massacre ensued.
After the first twenty minutes of play, Missouri led 34-10. Ten points in the first half was the fewest points all season for MSU. The Bulldogs shot a horrendous 16% from the floor while the Tigers went 47%. Missouri's Keion Bell went ballistic and got 16 first-half points, while Jabari Brown got eight. In the first half, State made only four shots, one three pointer, one free throw, one assist, two steals, two blocks, while committing five turnovers and six personal fouls. Did it get worse? Yep. Craig Sword went down and to the locker room with a nose/eye injury. He looked to be fine later and returned for the second half.
In the second half, MSU actually came out strong. Trivante Bloodman and his crew scored 12 points in the first four-plus minutes. Not an amazing stat but it is when you compare it to the first half. But Missouri did not stop draining easy, non-contested buckets. Missouri doubled MSU up with ten minutes left in the second half and stayed that way for the most part. To make matters even worse, State went 11+ minutes without a field goal. In the end, Bell finished with 24 points and five rebounds while Brown had 20 points, three assists, and three rebounds. Bloodman finished with a career-high 13 points, three steals, and two rebounds. No other Bulldog scored in double figures but Gavin Ware had seven points, Colin Borchert got six, and Craig Sword ended with four. For the second-straight game, suspended Jalen Steele didn't dress out for MSU.
Missouri's win, which was the first over MSU since 2007, gave the Bulldogs their ninth-straight loss and a fifth-straight home loss. They haven't lost five-straight at The Hump since losing six in 1986. MSU is now 0-12 on the season when trailing at the half. The beatdown was also State's seventh loss this season by 25 of more points.
State returns to action Saturday in Baton Rouge where they'll battle another set of Tigers on ESPNU at 4 p.m. They will then travel across Highway 82 to Tuscaloosa next Wednesday.