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Mississippi State men’s basketball tops Texas State 68-51, Howland picks up 500th win

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Bulldogs improve to 1-2.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State men’s basketball coach Ben Howland picked up his 500th career win Monday night as the Bulldogs topped Texas State 68-51 in their home opener inside Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bulldogs improve to 1-2 on the season, while Texas State falls to 2-1.

Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. led Mississippi State with a career-high 23 points. He shot 9-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range. Redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith added 12 points and five rebounds.

Sophomore forward Quinten Post had nine points and five rebounds, both career-highs.

As a team, MSU shot 25-for-58 (43.1%), including 9-for-23 (39.1%) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs also made 9 of 12 (75.0%) free throws.

State held a 46-27 rebounding advantage.

The MSU defense held the Bobcats to 17-for-53 (32.1%) shooting from the field and 4-for-15 (26.7%) from 3-point range.

junior guard Mason Harrell led Texas State with 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

Texas State jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Stewart drained a 3-pointer to make it 5-3 with 17:16 left in the first half.

Smith scored five consecutive points to give State an 8-7 lead before Stewart knocked down another triple to grow MSU’s lead to 11-7 with 15:11 to go.

The squads went back and forth before heading to the halftime break with MSU holding a 26-24 lead.

The Bulldogs came out for the second half on fire, growing their lead to double-digits when redshirt senior forward Jalen Johnson made a 3-pointer off a Bobcat turnover to make it 39-28.

MSU extended its lead all the way to 23 points when Stewart’s triple made it 62-39 with 3:46 left.

MSU went on to win 68-51.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Friday when they host North Texas. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by SEC Network.