Men’s Hoops Dominates Georgia, 91-59

(Courtesy: MSU Athletics)
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STARKVILLE, Miss. (MSU Athletics) The quartet of Tyson Carter, Reggie Perry, Nick Weatherspoon and Robert Woodard II pumped in a combined 69 points to ignite a balanced attack of four players in double figures as the Mississippi State men's basketball team dialed up its second straight SEC victory during a 91-59 rout of Georgia on Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum.

Coupled with the 72-45 triumph over Missouri earlier this week, the Maroon and White has posted consecutive 25-point victories over SEC opponents for the first time since the 1946-47 season. The Bulldogs knocked off Florida (55-24) and Auburn (61-35) on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, 1946.

The 32-point win for State (11-6, 2-3 SEC) matched its largest margin of victory over an SEC opponent under Ben Howland. The Bulldogs also bested Arkansas by 32 points, 78-46, on Feb. 9, 2016.

The 32-point victory over Georgia (11-6, 1-3 SEC) marked the largest win margin for either team during the 134-game series. State's previous marks were a pair of 29-point decisions during the 1966-67 and 1976-77 seasons, while UGA captured a 31-point decision in 1992-93. The 91 points for MSU were the program's most versus Georgia going back to a 98-69 win on Dec. 19, 1977.

Mississippi State improved to 34-2 when holding the opposition to under 60 points with Howland at the helm. The Bulldogs also limited their third consecutive opponent to below a 40 percent shooting clip.

Perry exploded for a game-leading 22 points on 9-of-13 from the floor coupled with 12 rebounds, a career-high tying six assists and two steals. He complied his sixth double-double over his last seven outings and reached the 20-point plateau for the fourth time over his last six appearances. For the season, Perry came away with his SEC-leading 10th double-double to bring his career total to 19 which is tops among SEC active players.

Carter was instant offense for the second straight game off the bench as he notched 18 points aided by four three-pointers and dished out three assists. The 18 points allowed him to surpass Gary Hooker (1976-77-78) into 29th place, while the four treys tied him with former teammate Lamar Peters (2017-18-19) for sixth place on the program's all-time lists.

Woodard II worked his way to a SEC career-high 17 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting. He tallied 11 of his 17 points after halftime and tacked on seven rebounds.

Weatherspoon nearly compiled his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high eight assists. The Canton native has provided double figures in six of his first seven appearances this season. He also added four rebounds and two steals.

Abdul Ado grinded his way to four points, six rebounds and four blocks. Five of his six rebounds came on the offensive end.

Iverson Molinar notched six points and two rebounds. The Carter-Molinar duo fueled MSU's 34-16 advantage in bench points. In fact, 12 of 13 players who saw action for State scored which included Mitchell Storm's first career points.

For the contest, MSU hit on 37-of-60 shots from the field en route to a season-high 61.7 field goal percentage. The 61.7 shooting clip marked the highest field goal percentage posted against an SEC opponent in the Howland era. State also shot 6-of-20 from the three-point range (30.0 percent) and 11-of-16 from the foul line (68.8 percent).

MSU held a 40-22 rebounding advantage and dished out 21 assists on its 37 field goals. The 21 dimes matched the second-most versus a SEC opponent under Howland. The Bulldogs also rattled off a 48-34 edge in paint points.

Georgia compiled a 22-of-56 mark on its field goal attempts (39.3 percent) and misfired on 15 of its 18 three-point attempts (16.7 percent). The Bulldogs were 12-of-16 at the charity stripe (75.0 percent). UGA received 19 points from freshman phenom Anthony Edwards who was 5-of-16 shooting. Toumani Camara and Rayshaun Hammonds also tallied 10 points each for the Bulldogs.

FROM THE BENCH WITH COACH HOWLAND
"I am really, really excited about how well we played tonight. Phenomenal back-to-back efforts starting with our defense. I thought our defense to start the game was really good … I thought Reggie Perry was absolutely incredible tonight. When you look at his stat line, 22 points, 9-13 [shooting], 12 rebounds, six assists, zero turnovers and excellent defense. He was just in a class by himself out there. I thought Nick [Weatherspoon] had a phenomenal game again. We had 21 assists on 37 made baskets. Eight by Nick, seven in the first half when we had the 11-point lead. Reggie had six assists, just a complete game."

"That's going to be good for us moving forward. I think that Nick [Weatherspoon] is really growing right before our eyes in terms of now being a full-time point guard for the first time in his college career. He's doing a great job and he's really working hard at it. He watches all the film, really studies it and is really working at it.

"I think we're capable of continuing to improve and continuing to get better. That's what's exciting. You can just see our guys and their belief in one another. The biggest thing – all good teams play for each other. These guys are really embodying that, they're playing for one another. That is what's so exciting for me as we're seeing this team grow right now. It's really, really fun."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Reggie Perry opened the contest with consecutive baskets, and Mississippi State connected on five of their first eight shots to race out to an early 10-2 lead within the opening 2:55 of the contest.

Georgia grabbed 13 of the next 17 points, courtesy of six points from Toumani Camara, to earn a 15-14 advantage with 12:52 left on the clock. The one-point advantage marked Georgia's only lead of the game.

The two teams played within four points of each other for the next two minutes before State used a 9-2 run, capped by a Tyson Carter trey to go ahead by seven points, 28-21, at the 7:48 mark.

Georgia used a three-pointer from Rayshaun Hammonds to pull within four at 30-26 with 4:26 remaining, but MSU finished the stanza out with 10 of the final 13 points to carry a 42-31 lead into the locker room.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock i, Nick Weatherspoon canned his second halftime-buzzer beater of the season to grab the final two points.

Carter and Perry exploded for a combined 26 points during the first half. Perry worked his way to 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Carter contributed 10.

State never relinquished its lead and stretched the advantage to 20 after a pair of D.J. Stewart Jr. free throws brought the tally to 66-46 with 7:58 to go.

The Maroon and White added 25 of the final 38 points to grab their largest lead of the game and close out the 91-59 decision. Devin Butts, Elias King, Prince Oduro, Quinten Post and Mitchell Storm each tallied points for MSU inside the final three minutes.

UP NEXT
Mississippi State concludes its three-game homestand and faces off with Arkansas on Wednesday. Tip time is slated for 6 p.m. CT from Humphrey Coliseum.