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Big second half pushes Mississippi State men’s basketball past Jackson State 82-59

Bulldogs improve to 3-2.

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State struggled to get shots to fall in the first half, shooting just 11-for-32 (34.4%), but a strong second half lifted the Bulldogs to an 82-59 win over Jackson State Tuesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.

After scoring 34 points in the first half, Mississippi State (3-2) outscored Jackson State (0-1) 48-29 in the second half.

Sophomore guard Iverson Molinar scored a game-high 21 points for the Bulldogs on 8-for-12 shooting, including five makes from 3-point range. Redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith used his 6-foot-10, 245-pound size to score 19 points and grab a game-high 12 rebounds.

Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. and redshirt sophomore forward Javian Davis added 11 points apiece.

As a team, MSU shot 27-for-61 (44.3%), including 8-for-18 (44.4%) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs also made 20 of 33 (60.6%) from the free-throw line.

The Tigers shot 19-for-52 (36.5%) from the field, including 10-for-24 (41.7%) from beyond the arc.

MSU held a 50-25 rebounding edge in the game.

MSU made five of its first six shots from the field. Then the Bulldogs went cold, making just six of their 26 shots to finish the first half.

Molinar scored 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the first five minutes. MSU led 15-10. Jackson State then used a 13-3 run to take an 18-15 lead with 12:40 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs managed to tie things up at 21-21 with 7:16 left in the first stanza. MSU ended the half on a 10-3 run to go into the halftime break with a 34-30 lead.

MSU started the second half on a 16-0 run and turned a close game into a rout. The Bulldogs led 50-30 at that point.

MSU’s largest lead of the game came with 6:53 left to play when the Bulldogs took a 30-point lead at 71-41.

The Bulldogs went on to win by 23 with a final score of 82-59.

MSU will now head to Atlanta to take part in the Pit Boss Grills Holiday Hoopsgiving event inside State Farm Arena. The Bulldogs will face the Dayton Flyers at 11 a.m. CT.