HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Offensive struggles late in the first half hurt the Mississippi State men’s basketball team in its first road game of the season.
MSU could never recover from a first-half deficit, falling 65-50 to No. 25 Cincinnati in a nationally-televised contest played at BB&T Arena. The Bulldogs saw a season-opening eight-game win streak snapped in their best start to a season since 2003-04.
“We didn’t shoot well enough to win on the road,” MSU coach Ben Howland said. “Cincinnati has a very good basketball team and it was lack of execution on offense and not taking care of the basketball.”
Aric Holman led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Nick Weatherspoon and Quinndary Weatherspoon each added 12 points apiece. Tyson Carter added eight points. The Bulldogs had no bench scoring.
Holman collected a double-double as he pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. Nick Weatherspoon had seven rebounds.
“The stretch there in the first half really hurt us,” Howland said. “We need more contributions on the offensive end. Defensively, we played well enough to win.”
Cincinnati took the lead for good by matching a Quinndary Weatherspoon 3-pointer with five straight points. A basket by Nick Weatherspoon later pulled the Bulldogs within 13-10.
The Bulldogs would later go better than five minutes without any points. The Bearkats scored six straight to take a 23-11 lead with 8:53 left in the half.
The Bulldogs were back within five at 25-20 before the hosts again scored seven straight.
A dunk by Holman ended the half with the Bulldogs down 35-25.
MSU still trailed by 10 at 43-33 with 14:25 left. Cincinnati reeled off nine straight points and held a comfortable lead the rest of the way.
For the contest, MSU hit 19 of 63 shots from the field (30.2 percent), 6 of 21 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 6 of 8 shots from the foul line (75.0 percent). Cincinnati hit 22 of 54 shots from the field (40.7 percent), 7 of 20 shots from 3-point range (35.0 percent) and 14 of 16 shots from the foul line (87.5 percent).
MSU held a 38-37 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had nine assists and 16 turnovers, while the Bearkats had 18 assists and 14 turnovers.
Cincinnati (8-2) received 24 points from Jacob Evans and 16 points from Kyle Washington. Gary Clark barely missed a double-double with nine points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
MSU will host UT Martin at 7 p.m. Saturday.