Mississippi State rides big first half past Missouri, 76-62

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) The difference in Mississippi State's 76-62 victory over Missouri Saturday night boiled down to one category; 3-point shooting.

The Bulldogs shot 8 of 23 from 3-point range while Missouri made only two of its 25 3-point attempts.

Malik Newman led all scorers with 19 points, including 11 in the first half. He shot 4 of 7 in the first half, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range.

Quinndary Weatherspoon had 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, marking his first career double-double.

It's the Bulldogs' first road victory since Feb. 14, 2015 when they defeated Missouri 53-43.

''That was a great win for us,'' said Mississippi State coach Ben Howland. ''It's huge to get a win, period. But when it's on the road, it's always sweeter. I always tell my team the funnest wins are on the road because it's us against the world.''

Missouri struggled offensively, particularly in the first half. Following an old fashioned 3-point play by K.J. Walton, Mississippi State turned up the defense and held the Tigers scoreless for 3:11 seconds.

Howland attributed Missouri's poor shooting to his team's defense.

''We elected to go back to the zone which is something I promised I wouldn't do the rest of the year, but it was the right thing to do,'' Howland said. ''Missouri is not a great 3-point shooting team. We hadn't played in a zone for the last four games so I don't think there was any preparation by Missouri for us to play zone.''

Mississippi State led 37-20 at halftime after closing the first half on a 14-5 run. The Bulldogs made 6 of 13 3-pointers in the half, while Missouri missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts.

After trailing by as many as 22 points, Missouri found life in the second half following a 15-4 run that cut the deficit to 11 and reenergized the crowd. That energy was short lived as the Bulldogs answered with an 11-4 run.

''We obviously didn't shoot the ball well,'' said Missouri coach Kim Anderson. ''It probably was the difference in the game. I don't think we're a great team, but I think we're better than we played tonight. I think we're struggling with our confidence.''

Namon Wright led Missouri (8-13, 1-7 SEC) with 16 points and nine rebounds. Wright had 10 points in the second half and shot 6 of 12 from the field.

''We don't show up every night,'' Wright said. ''Good teams in this league show up every night, at home, and that's what we have to do to become a good team.''

Jakeenan Gant had 11 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes and Terrence Phillips had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Mississippi State (9-11, 2-6) outrebounded the Tigers 43-34 without their best rebounder, Gavin Ware, who is out with a concussion. Ware is the Bulldogs leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 15.7 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game.

TIP-INS

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs lead the SEC in free-throw percentage at 74.5 percent. ...Freshman Elijah Staley is no longer on the team after joining in December. Staley is a backup quarterback and has chosen to concentrate his efforts on football. ...Craig Sword is the active scoring leader in the SEC with 1,327 career points. He finished with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Missouri: Freshman Kevin Puryear scored his 200th point in a 60-57 loss to Georgia Jan. 20 becoming the sixth-fastest player in school history to eclipse that mark. ...Tramaine Isabell was suspended indefinitely prior to the game. Anderson cited Isabell's ''practice attitude and conduct'' for the suspension. Isabell did not play in Missouri's previous two games, an 88-54 loss at No. 20 Kentucky and a 66-53 loss at No. 10 Texas A&M.

WHERE'S WARE?: Mississippi State's leading scorer Gavin Ware did not travel with the team due to a concussion. Ware averages 15.7 points per game and also leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 per game. His player efficiency rating of 30.33 ranks second in the SEC behind LSU's Ben Simmons (32.16).

COURTSIDE: Missouri held its Annual Coaches vs. Cancer ''Whiteout'' theme, encouraging all fans to wear white. Missouri's coaching staff wore white tennis shoes in recognition of cancer research and awareness.

UP NEXT

Mississippi State hosts Alabama Tuesday.

Missouri hosts Ole Miss Wednesday.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.