STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Abdul Ado made his long-awaited Mississippi State debut with 12 points and 8 rebounds as the Bulldogs beat Florida A&M 79-48 Saturday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU scored 51 points in the second half to expand an 11-point halftime lead. In the second half, the Bulldogs shot 67.7 percent.
Five MSU players were in double figures. Ado was joined by Nick Weatherspoon (12 points), Lamar Peters (12 points), Quinndary Weatherspoon (12 points) and Tyson Carter (10 points).
"It felt great to be out there," Ado said. "Sometimes, I felt this day would never come. I was nervous before the game. My teammates said it's just like practice, except you are playing another team. Do what you can do. That really gave me a lot of confidence."
Abdul missed last season waiting for his eligibility to be cleared. The 6-foot-11 freshman from Nigeria made an impression in his 23 minutes of play.
"Abdul is a high-energy guy," Peters said. "It's good to have him out there. We know he is going to give us everything because he always goes all out. He is going to help us offensively and defensively. He will make an impact."
MSU (2-0) started fast, building a 15-2 lead in less than six minutes. A dunk by Carter capped that opening run. The Bulldogs then fell in a slump offensively with only one basket over the next eight minutes.
Florida A&M (0-4) was back within five points at 19-14 with 4:12 left in the half.
MSU led 28-17 at halftime.
"Our defense in the first half was tremendous," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "Our block outs were not good. We allowed too many offensive rebounds in the first half. In the second half, we did a much better job of attacking the basket. It was great to have Abdul make his debut today.
"He did a lot of things defensively that will not show up on a stat sheet."
The Bulldogs started the second half on a 9-1 run for a 37-18 lead. A follow-up 8-0 run pushed the lead to 48-21 with 13:58 left in the contest.
For the contest, MSU hit 33 of 62 shots from the field (53.2 percent), 7 of 24 shots from 3-point range (29.2 percent) and 6 of 9 shots from the foul line (66.7 percent). Florida A&M hit 18 of 64 shots from the field (28.1 percent), 5 of 19 shots from 3-point range (26.3 percent) and 7 of 12 shots from the foul line (58.3 percent).
Florida A&M held a 42-37 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 19 assists and 17 turnovers, while the Rattlers had six assists and 24 turnovers.
The Bulldogs had 13 blocked shots, including six by Schnider Herard and three by Ado. Peters had five assists and four steals.
Florida A&M received 15 points from Marcus Barham and 14 points from Desmond Williams.
MSU will play host to Green Bay at 7 p.m. Monday.
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