Mississippi State rolls to 80-62 victory over Vanderbilt
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By PAUL JONES
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Quinndary Weatherspoon had 19 points and Aric Holman added 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to an 80-62 win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs (14-4, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) also received 10 points from Lamar Peters.
Vanderbilt (6-12, 1-5) was led by Ejike Obinna's 14 points. Jeff Roberson added 10 points for the Commodores, who have dropped four straight.
"We just tried to come out and play hard as a team," said Weatherspoon. "Tonight we put together 40 minutes on offense and defense and it went good. I was glad me and Aric got a couple of baskets to start the second half to keep our team going and to keep our heads up."
Mississippi State held a 12-point lead at the half. However, Vanderbilt managed to chip away in the second half and cut the deficit to 55-50 with 11:47 left in regulation. But Mississippi State answered with a 16-2 run to put the game away.
The Bulldogs shot 48 percent for the game, including 57 percent in the second half. Mississippi State also made 5 of 7 beyond the arc in the second half and finished with 20 assists and just four turnovers.
"That was a very big win for us to get back to winning ways," said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland. "We really shared the ball well and we got great minutes from a number of players tonight. Eli Wright gave us a huge lift in the second half and had a couple of big drives and finishes. And Aric Holman had a fantastic game."
For the game, Vanderbilt shot 49 percent but made just 4 of 20 beyond the arc. Mississippi State also held a 37-29 advantage on the backboards and the Commodores had 10 turnovers.
"I think Mississippi State had a good memory from last year's game," said Vanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew, referring to the Commodores' 77-48 win over the Bulldogs last season. "They gave it right back to us. They shot it well and got a lot of loose balls and offensive rebounds that we couldn't make up for. To be down 12 (at halftime), we still had a chance in the game and we got it down to five points. But then Peters hit a tough 3-pointer and got the momentum back in their hands."
Both teams struggled offensively in the opening minutes as the Bulldogs and Commodores were a combined 2 of 15 from the floor in the first five minutes. The Bulldogs maintained a lead for most of the first half. Weatherspoon scored six as Mississippi State closed with a 12-2 run to lead 37-25 at halftime.
The Bulldogs shot 41 percent in the first half, while the Commodores were a bit better at 42 percent. Mississippi State only had one turnover at intermission, while Vanderbilt had six.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores' woes in conference play continued on Tuesday. After defeating Alabama two weeks ago, Vanderbilt has now dropped four straight SEC games.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs got a much-needed conference win after losing late leads last week in games against Ole Miss and Auburn. Mississippi State snapped a three-game SEC losing streak in the process.
Vanderbilt returns home this weekend and will host LSU on Saturday.
Mississippi State returns to the road Saturday as the Bulldogs travel to Alabama.
Updated January 16, 2018