STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Reggie Perry had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to an easy 72-45 victory over Missouri on Tuesday.
Perry has now collected nine double-doubles this season and has 18 for his career. Tyson Carter had 15 points while Nick Weatherspoon added 11 for Mississippi State (10-6 overall, 1-3 in SEC), who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"Obviously a great win for us and we needed it desperately," said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland.
“Our defense actually improved off our last game and it was our best defensive game of the year,” he said. Our defense was unbelievable and everything starts with our defense. We were really, really physical and tough. We also played incredibly unselfish with 17 assists on our 30 made field goals. We just executed better offensively by being patient."
Perry was 9 of 13 from the field and made all three of his free throw attempts. He has now collected five double-doubles in Mississippi State's last six games.
"It was a really big win after the start we had in the SEC," said Perry. "I felt like we played really well ,and we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. The biggest thing is we wanted to be patient. I remember the first media timeout, Coach Howland said we were 4 of 6 shooting because of our patience. So we tried to build on that during the entire game and we got good shots."
Missouri (9-7, 1-3) was led by Kobe Brown's 14 points and Brown was the only Tiger to finish in double digits.
Early in the second half, Missouri cut the Mississippi State lead to 42-27 following a pair of free throws by Reed Nikko. But the Bulldogs responded with an 18-7 run to put the game away. The Bulldogs led by as many as 32 points in the second half.
Mississippi State shot 54.5% from the floor and made 5 of 13 beyond the arc. The Bulldogs also held a 36-24 rebounding advantage and distributed 17 assists. Missouri shot 34.7% from the floor and made just 5 of 25 beyond the arc. The Tigers were outscored 38-24 in the paint and had 19 turnovers.
"We simply didn't get off to a good start and they made shots," said Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin. "We gave them too much confidence on offense and we missed too many shots around the rim. It was a combination of turning the ball over and not being aggressive and not attacking the rim. But Mississippi State just made plays. Reggie Perry made plays on both ends of the floor. He's a talented player with a tremendous future in front of him."
Mississippi State jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening four minutes. Missouri did not get on the scoreboard until Brown sank a 3 pointer with 15:06 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs' hot shooting in the first half continued as Mississippi State made 9 of 12 shots to open the game en route to a 19-7 lead.
The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 31-11 after a Weatherspoon 3-pointer with 4:04 left in the first half. Mississippi State maintained that advantage the rest of the way and led 40-20 at halftime. Missouri's point total in the first half was the lowest allowed against SEC competition during Howland's four-plus seasons at Mississippi State.
Mississippi State shot a sizzling 60.7% in the first half while Missouri shot just 34.8% from the field. The Tigers were just 2 of 10 beyond the arc in the opening half while Mississippi State was 3 of 8 on 3s. The Tigers held a 13-12 rebounding edge in the opening half but had 13 turnovers.
Missouri: The Tigers' struggles in Starkville continued on Tuesday with another loss at Humphrey Coliseum. Missouri is now just 1-6 all-time at Mississippi State.
Mississippi State: In desperate search for their first conference win, the Bulldogs finally got that against Missouri. With two more home games over the next eight days, Mississippi State has a chance to get to .500 in the SEC after an 0-3 start.
Missouri: The Tigers remain on the road and travel to Alabama on Saturday.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs continue their three-game homestand on Saturday and play host to Georgia.