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Top-seeded Bulldogs roll past Nicholls in NCAA Tournament opener

MSU defeated the Colonels 95-50.

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 10:47 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mississippi State used a strong second quarter and opened its first NCAA Tournament game as a No. 1 seed with a 95-50 win against Nicholls Saturday evening in Starkville.

As the only sold-out site of the first and second rounds, the Bulldogs hosted a program fourth-highest 10,211 fans, second-most of all tournament venues.

The Bulldogs improved to 33-1 and enter Monday’s 8 p.m. second-round game against 9-seed Oklahoma State with the opportunity to tie last season’s National Finalist squad for the most victories in school history. Monday’s contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

“First of all, I want to congratulate Nicholls,” Vic Schaefer said. “I thought they played extremely hard. I have a lot of respect for (Plaisance) and her program and those kids.

“I thought we had some kids do some really good things today. We’ve got to get really ready for a really good Oklahoma State team.”

Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians both posted double-doubles in the contest. McCowan tallied 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Vivians tallied 20 points while corralling a career-high 13 boards.

McCowan’s double-double was her school-record 24th of the season, and Vivians secured her 16th 20-point game of the year while reaching double figures for the 33rd time in 34 games.

Blair Schaefer also reached double figures with 18 points.

MSU took a 21-13 lead after the opening quarter of play but pushed the advantage to 54-24 with a 33-11 second quarter.

State used an early 12-0 run in the quarter to jump ahead 34-15. McCowan sparked the run with a bucket, and Blair Schaefer pushed the edge to 14 with a 3-pointer. Jazzmun Holmes capped the run with a layup.

Vivians knocked down two of her four 3-pointers in the final 2:15 of the half as State pushed the lead to 30 at the break.

The Carthage, Miss., native added another 3-pointer with 4:45 left in the third quarter that sparked an 8-0 run that ran the State edge to 69-34 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

State shot 50 percent from the field, making 31 of its 62 shot attempts. The Bulldogs also knocked down 9-of-19 3-pointers for 47.4-percent and 24-of-30 free throws for 80 percent.

MSU held Nicholls (19-14) to 27.7-percent from the floor and 24-percent from the arc.

The Bulldogs claimed a 51-29 edge on the boards and scored 23 points off 14 Nicholls turnovers.

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