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Bulldogs ride big second half to 78-63 win over No. 13 Missouri

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Bulldogs improve to 7-4.

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team outscored No. 13 Missouri 51-24 in the second half en route to a 78-63 win Tuesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bulldogs improve to 7-4 (2-1 SEC), while the Tigers fall to 7-2 (1-2 SEC). MSU has now won nine of its last 10 games against Missouri.

Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. and sophomore guard Iverson Molinar scored 24 and 20 points, respectively, as they combined to score 44 of MSU’s 78 points.

Redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith finished with 15 points and one rebound shy of another double-double.

The Bulldogs shot just 9-for-26 (34.6%) from the field in the first half compared to 15-for-30 (50.0%) shooting by the Tigers. The script flipped in the second half and MSU shot 67.9% and Missouri shot 39.3%. MSU also turned the ball over just three times in the second half compared to eight in the first.

In total, the Bulldogs shot 28-for-54 (51.9%) from the field compared to 26-for-58 (44.8%) shooting by the Tigers. State also made 19 of 21 free throws. Missouri didn’t miss from the free-throw line, but it only attempted six total from the charity stripe. MSU held a 37-22 rebounding edge,

Senior forward Jeremiah Tilmon led Missouri with 16 points. Junior guard Xavier Pinson scored 13 points and redshirt senior guard Dru Smith had 11.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 7-2 lead before Missouri made the next two buckets to make it 7-6.

Missouri then used a 12-0 run to go up 30-16 with 5:49 left in the half. The Bulldogs managed to cut the deficit to eight points at 35-27 with just under a minute left in the first stanza, but the Tigers closed out the half with a dunk and a pair of free throws to go up 39-27 at the halftime break.

The Bulldogs trailed by 14 early in the second half before ripping off a 15-0 run to go up 44-43 with 13:07 to play.

The Tigers pushed back ahead 50-48, but a made jumper and a free throw from Stewart gave MSU the lead again. Molinar’s jumper then made it 53-50 with 8:50 to play.

Molinar and Stewart scored 22 straight points for the Bulldogs during the second-half surge. Stewart had 13 in a row at one point.

The Bulldogs quickly stretched the advantage to 69-54 with the help of a 9-0 spurt and they never looked back, going on to win 78-63.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday when they travel to play Vanderbilt. Tip time is set for noon and will be televised on SEC Network.