JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Jarvis Varnado tied his career high with 24 points, Barry Stewart scored 12 in his return from injury and Mississippi State overcame a sluggish start to beat Nicholls State 74-68 on Monday night.
It was the third straight 20-point game for Varnado, something no Mississippi State player had done since 2004-05. The nation's leading shot blocker hit 8 of 9 field goals and blocked six shots, including three straight early in the first half, for the Bulldogs (8-4) and was their only consistent source of points.
Mississippi State pulled away with a 9-0 run near the end of the first half and an 11-0 run early in the second, and withstood a late run by Nicholls State (6-5).
Anatoly Bose and Ryan Bathie each scored 18 points to lead the Colonels, who narrowed the lead to five in the final minute but couldn't rally.