BATON ROUGE, La. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – No. 6 Mississippi State scored the game’s first 21 points and never looked back in racing to a 68-35 win over LSU on Thursday night in Baton Rouge.
The Bulldogs beat the Tigers for a fifth straight time, while winning on the LSU campus for the fourth time in program history. The Bulldogs recorded their largest margin of victory in the series and allowed the fewest points in an SEC game in school history.
MSU improved to 20-1 overall and 8-0 in conference play. At the midway mark of the conference race, MSU holds a one-game lead over South Carolina. State has won three straight conference games by 31 points or more.
“That first quarter was as good as we have been in a long time,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “It took everything we had to deal with them, and I thought we did a nice job. When you hold someone to four points in that first quarter you are allowing yourself the chance to get off to a really good start. We certainly did that.”
Andra Espinoza-Hunter led the Bulldogs with a career-high-tying 16 points. Teaira McCowan completed her 17th double-double this season in the first half before finishing with 13 points and 20 rebounds. Jordan Danberry added 12 points, extending her streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 16 games.
Jazzmun Holmes had five assists for the Bulldogs without a turnover. McCowan had three blocked shots, while Anriel Howard added a pair of swats.
Espinoza-Hunter got things going with back-to-back 3-pointers and a follow-up basket in the lane for eight quick points in less than two minutes. The Bulldogs held the Tigers scoreless for the first 8:03 of the game.
LSU hit 2 of 15 shots in the first quarter as MSU matched a season-best by allowing only four points for a 22-4 lead.
Another Espinoza-Hunter three-pointer opened the scoring in the second quarter. A 7-0 run was capped by a Danberry free throw for a 34-8 lead. MSU led 38-13 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Maroon and White kept their good pace going. The Bulldogs used a 15-0 run to open a 56-17 lead with 2:37 left in the third quarter. State held the Tigers without a field goal over the final 8:12 of the third quarter.
State held LSU to just 21.1 percent from the field (12-of-57). MSU held a 45-40 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 14 assists and forced 18 turnovers.
LSU (12-8, 3-5) received 11 points from Mercedes Brooks. The Bulldogs will travel to face Alabama at noon Sunday, Feb. 3, on the SEC Network.
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