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Mississippi State men’s basketball opens SEC play with 83-73 win at Georgia

MSU improves to 6-3.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATHENS, Ga. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team opened Southeastern Conference play with a dominating 83-73 win over Georgia Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

MSU never trailed in the game and improves to 6-3 (1-0 SEC). Georgia falls to 7-1 (0-1 SEC).

The victory marks MSU’s first SEC opener win on the road since Jan. 7, 2017, when the Bulldogs defeated LSU 98-75. MSU has won four consecutive games against Georgia.

Sophomore guard Iverson Molinar led all scorers with 24 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. added 18 points and seven rebounds, while freshman guard Deivon Smith and redshirt senior forward Jalen Johnson posted 13 and 12 points, respectively. Smith scored all 13 of his points in the first half.

MSU shot 29-for-66 (43.9%) from the field, including 12-for-27 (44.4%) from 3-point range. State also made 13 of 18 (72.2%) from the free-throw line.

Georgia shot 26-for-65 (40.0%) from the field, including 9-for-25 (36.0%) from beyond the arc. Graduate transfer forward P.J. Horne led the team with 21 points.

MSU made the first two baskets of the game to go up 5-0. The teams then traded 3-pointers to make it 8-3 early on.

State used three triples, one from Molinar and two from Smith, to increase the lead to 24-12 with 10:37 left in the first half.

State’s hot shooting continued as the lead was increased to 20 points at 40-20 with 3:10 left in the half.

MSU led Georgia 41-27 at the halftime break.

An 8-0 second-half run by Georgia made it a 55-45 game with 14:20 to play, but MSU went back up by 16 at 65-49 shortly after.

Georgia cut the deficit to 67-56 with 8:06 left before MSU stretched its lead to 18 at 78-60 with 3:06 remaining.

State went on to win 83-73.

MSU will return to action Saturday when it hosts the Kentucky Wildcats at Humphrey Coliseum. Game time is set for 5 p.m. CT.