Vivians drops 30 as No. 3 Bulldogs hold off Cowgirls

Mississippi State improves to 8-0.

Posted: Dec. 3, 2017 11:02 PM
Updated: Dec. 3, 2017 11:02 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 3 Mississippi State survived an offensive shootout Sunday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

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Oklahoma State’s Loryn Goodwin scored 35 points, while MSU’s Victoria Vivians scored a season-high 30 points, the fourth 30-point game of her career and first since March 5, 2016.

From there, Vivians got enough help from her teammates to pull out a 79-76 victory at the Humphrey Coliseum.

MSU improved to 8-0 while winning in this event for a second straight season. The Bulldogs won by placing three players in double figures and only committing 11 turnovers.

Roshunda Johnson added 18 points for the Bulldogs, while Morgan William added a season-high 15 points. Teaira McCowan had a team-high 11 rebounds, while Vivians just missed a double-double with eight boards. Vivians also had three of her team’s seven steals.

“I was proud of our resilience today. I just thought Oklahoma State was tough,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I just thought the reason we won the game was because of our toughness.”

Oklahoma State held its lead in the game, at 10-9 midway through the first quarter. Johnson capped a 6-0 run giving the Bulldogs the lead for good. The Bulldogs would stretch the lead to seven before the Cowgirls tightening the contest back up.

Both teams shot better 62.5 percent from the field in the first quarter, with MSU leading 26-23 after that period.

In the early stages of the second quarter, the lead switched hands a couple of times. The Cowgirls never led by more than one point. The Bulldogs would eventually battle back for a six-point lead at 39-33 with 2:37 left in the half.

A three-point play by McCowan gave the Bulldogs a 44-41 lead at halftime.

Things remained tight through the early stages of the third quarter. The Bulldogs continued to get to the foul line. A three-point play by Johnson gave the Bulldogs a 56-47 lead.

MSU carried a 62-57 lead into the final quarter.

The Bulldogs turned the pressure up on defense and stretched the lead to 12 at 72-60 with 2:51 left. MSU would then hit enough free throws down the stretch to keep Oklahoma State at bay.

For the contest, MSU hit 25 of 58 shots from the field (43.1 percent), 3 of 12 shots from 3-point range (25.0 percent) and 26 of 34 shots from the foul line (76.5 percent). Oklahoma State hit 29 of 65 shots from the field (44.6 percent), 4 of 11 shots from 3-point range (36.4 percent) and 14 of 18 shots from the foul line (77.8 percent).

Oklahoma State held a 39-35 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had a season-low five assists and 11 turnovers, while the Cowgirls had eight assists and 16 turnovers.

It was only the second time this season the Bulldogs were out-rebounded in a game.

Oklahoma State (6-2) received 10 points apiece from Mandy Coleman and Kayleen Jensen. Both Goodwin and Coleman each had double-doubles as each had a team-high 10 rebounds.

After a brief break for final examinations, MSU will host UALR at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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