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Strong Second Half Lifts Mississippi State Over Tennessee

Bulldogs improve to 14-7.

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team used another strong second half on its way to besting Tennessee, 86-73, Saturday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum.

With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 14-7 (5-3 SEC), while the Volunteers fall to 12-9 (4-4 SEC).

The game was tight early on before the Bulldogs built up a 13-6 lead with 13:42 to play in the first half. The Vols then went on a 12-4 run to go up 21-17 with 7:38 left. State responded by scoring the next six points before Tennessee used a 13-5 run to close the half and head into the locker room break with a 34-28 lead.

Just like in Tuesday’s win over Florida, the Bulldogs came out of the break on fire. They took a 45-40 lead thanks to a 10-0 run.

State continued to control the game, stretching its lead to 63-52 with 7:50 remaining. The Bulldogs would hold onto a double-digit lead the rest of the way, going on to win 86-73.

The Bulldog offensive attack was led by Reggie Perry and career night from D.J. Stewart Jr. Perry put up 24 points and and 12 rebounds, while Stewart finished with a career-high 20 points, which included 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Robert Woodard II helped out with 14 points, while Nick Weathspoon nearly recorded a triple-double. He finished with 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

As a team, MSU shot 28-of-49 (57.1%) compared to 27-of-58 (46.6%) by Tennessee. The big differences in the game include free throws and rebounds. MSU made 25-of-30 (83.3%) compared to 9-of-13 (69.2%) by the Vols. MSU also held a 36-24 rebounding advantage.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to Lexington, Kentucky to face the Wildcats. Tip time is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN.