STARKVILLE, Miss. — It wasn’t easy, but the Mississippi State men’s basketball team opened the 2019-20 season with a 77-69 win over Florida International Tuesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
Three Bulldogs finished with double-digit scoring performances. Senior guard Tyson Carter scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Iverson Molinar and sophomore forward Reggie Perry chipped in with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
As a team, State outshot FIU 54.4% to 46.7%.
The state defense limited the Golden Panthers to just 7-of-26 from the 3-point line. The Bulldogs also held a 36-28 rebounding advantage. Sophomore guard Robert Woodard II led the team with eight rebounds to go along with nine points. Carter and Perry also helped out with seven rebounds apiece. The Bulldogs forced 18 turnovers while also turning the ball over 17 times. Six of the FIU turnovers were caused by Carter, who finished with a craeer-high six steals.
The teams traded baskets early on with a 3-pointer from Carter tying things at 14-14 with 14:01 left in the first half. FIU then hit back-to-back layups to go ahead 18-14. A 3-pointer from FIU’s Trejon Jacob then pushed the lead to seven points at 23-16 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The Bulldogs would eventually take a 26-25 lead with 5:31 left in the first half.
The teams would trade baskets for the rest of the half until the Bulldogs closed out on a 6-0 run, which included a layup from Carter to end the half, as the Bulldogs went into the locker room with a 40-30 lead.
A jumper from Molinar to open the second half pushed the Bulldog lead to 12 points, but FIU ended up tying things up at 44-44 with 15:24 left in the second half.
The Golden Panthers kept it a single-digit game until just over two minutes remaining when Perry’s dunk made it 73-63.
The Bulldogs went on to win the contest 77-69.
Mississippi State will be back in action Friday when the Bulldogs host Sam Houston State at 7 p.m. CT. The game can be streamed on SEC Network+ through the WatchESPN app.