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LSU Tigers pull away from Bulldogs for 94-80 win

Mississippi State falls to 11-10.

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

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team gave up the most points since 2017 in Wednesday’s 94-80 loss to the LSU Tigers at Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bulldogs (11-10, 5-7 SEC) allowed 38-for-62 (61.3%) shooting by the Tigers (12-6, 7-4 SEC), including 10-for-22 (45.5%) on 3-pointers. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Bulldogs had not let an opponent shoot over 50% since Dayton shot 52.7% on Dec. 12.

Redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith led MSU with 24 points and 11 rebounds on 10-for-11 shooting. Freshman forward Derek Fountain scored 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 on shots behind the 3-point line. He also came down with seven rebounds.

Sophomore guard Iverson Molinar had 16 points and freshman guard Deivon Smith had 12. Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr., who leads MSU with 17.7 points per game, was held to five points.

As a team, the Bulldogs shot 30-for-56 (53.6%) from the field and 9-for-24 (37.5%) on 3-pointers.

The Tigers were led by freshman guard Cameron Thomas with 25 points. He added four rebounds and four assists. LSU also had two double-double performances in junior guard Javonte Smart and junior forward Darius Days. Smart scored 22 points and dished out 11 assists, while Days had 16 points and 11 rebounds in his return from an ankle injury.

The LSU offense led the Bulldogs in points off turnovers (26-3), points in the paint (48-34) and fast-break points (24-8).

The Bulldogs held a small lead through the halfway point of the opening half until the Tigers used an 11-0 run to go up 31-24 with 6:52 to play. The Bulldogs used an 8-0 spurt to go back up 34-33 with 3:11 left. Thomas then hit a jumper to make it 35-34 with 2:45 left.

The teams went into the halftime break with the Tigers holding a 41-39 lead.

A 3-pointer by Days gave LSU a 10-point lead at 60-50 with 14:14 to play in the game.

Deivon Smith made a layup to cap an 8-2 spurt that trimmed the deficit to 73-70 with 8:01 to play, but three free throws by Thomas gave the Tigers a double-digit lead for good on their way to winning 94-80.

The Bulldogs return to action Saturday when they host Vanderbilt at noon CT. The game will be televised on SEC Network.