JACKSON, Miss. (AP) Malik Newman poured in a game-high 20 points as Mississippi State ran past Northern Colorado 93-69 at the Mississippi Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Newman, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard from Jackson, and Gavin Ware, a 6-foot-9 forward, were nearly unstoppable for the Bulldogs (6-5).
''It was great playing back at home and in front of a great crowd,'' said Newman, who guided Callaway High School to four straight Class 5A state championships at the Mississippi Coliseum. Attendance Wednesday was announced at 4,512.
''My teammates did a good job of finding me and I feel like I am starting to figure the offense out.''
Ware had 19 points along with six rebounds, three steals and two block shots for Mississippi State, including 10 in the second half. Newman scored the Bulldogs first 10 points of the second half to give MSU a 59-39 lead.
Mississippi State got 27 points off Northern Colorado turnovers.
The Bulldogs opened the second half on a 16-7 run to take control of the Bears.
Fred Thomas, also from Jackson, added 13 points for Mississippi State.
''I felt like offensively tonight we shot the ball very well,'' said Mississippi State coach Ben Howland. ''I am happy of how we played tonight heading into Christmas.''
The Bulldogs shot 58 percent (32 of 55) from the field for the game, 62 percent in the first half.
I.J. Ready had a game-high 11 assists along with his eight points for Mississippi State.
The two-three zone for Mississippi State gave Northern Colorado problems from the outside. The Bears only managed to shoot 47 percent from the field, including just 36 percent (4 of 11) from three-point range in the second half.
''In our zone I think we improved tonight,'' Howland said. ''We played zone the entire game tonight, and against Tulane, and we improved. We aren't going to get away with playing zone in the SEC, but it is still productive.''
Dallas Anglin, a transfer from Southern Miss, led Northern Colorado with 13 points.
Jordan Davis, Anthony Johnson and Jordan Wilson each added 11 points for the Bears (3-9), who have lost three in a row.
Northern Colorado: is 0-5 all-time against teams from the SEC.
Mississippi State: Scored its most points this season against teams from the Big Sky Conference. The first was Eastern Washington (106) in the season opener on Nov. 13. ... Malik Newman's previous career-high in points was 18 against Missouri-Kansas City. ... Mississippi State coach Ben Howland announced after the game that sophomore forward Fallou Ndoye has transferred.
Northern Colorado hosts Eastern Washington on Dec. 31 to begin Big Sky Conference play.
Mississippi State hosts North Carolina Central on Dec. 31.