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Mississippi State men’s basketball uses late run to defeat North Alabama 75-49 in season opener

Bulldogs begin the season 1-0.

Austin Perryman/MSU Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Graduate transfer forward Garrison Brooks scored a game-high 18 points in his Mississippi State debut and the Bulldogs used a late 15-0 run to secure a 75-49 season-opening win over the North Alabama Lions on Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum.

Junior guard Iverson Molinar added 13 points for the Bulldogs (1-0), while freshman guard Cam Carter joined the double-digit scoring club, finishing with 11 points. Sophomore forward Cameron Matthews grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and added seven points and four assists.

As a team, MSU shot 27-for-56 (48.2%) from the field, including 6-for-18 (33.3%) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs shot 15-for-26 (57.7%) from the free-throw line. MSU held a 43-33 rebounding advantage and outscored the Lions (0-1) 38-18 in points in the paint.

The Bulldogs held North Alabama to 19-for-61 (31.1%) shooting from the floor and 8-for-32 (25%) from 3-point range. Junior guard Jamari Blackmon led the Lions with 14 points, while junior forward Isaac Chatman added nine points and six rebounds.

The Lions jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a 3-pointer from Blackmon before the Bulldogs responded with a 17-0 run to take a 17-3 lead with 14:16 left in the first half. MSU led by as many as 24 points in the first half when a dunk by Matthews made it 35-11 with 6:26 left.

The Lions then outscored the Bulldogs 15-2 to close out the half and cut MSU’s lead to 11 as the teams went into the halftime break with MSU leading 37-26.

In the second half, North Alabama trimmed MSU’s lead to as little as seven points when Chatman’s layup made it a 46-39 game with 14:49 to play.

MSU then used a 15-0 run to go up 70-45 with 1:15 to play before ultimately winning 75-49.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday when they host Montana at 6 p.m. CT.