Jimmy Bell Jr. had a double-double, freshman Josh Hubbard scored 12 points and Mississippi State pulled away from North Alabama 81-54 on Tuesday night in Starkville, Miss.
Bell finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs (3-0), who held an eight-point halftime lead and pulled away in the second half.
Tim Smith Jr. and KJ Johnson scored 11 each to lead the Lions (2-1), who had won their first two games by double figures.
MSU held UNA to 33.9 percent shooting from the floor (21 of 62) and forced 20 turnovers that led to 26 points. The Bulldogs held scoring advantages of 44-30 in the paint and 40-14 from the benches as all but one of the 12 MSU players who entered the game scored. They had 18 assists compared to seven for the Lions.
Smith scored UNA’s first seven points of the second half to pull the Lions within 38-35.
D.J. Jeffries scored the final five points of a 10-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 13-point lead.
UNA crept within nine points before Bell and Shakeel Moore scored five points each to help MSU open its biggest lead to that point, 69-48 with 5:59 remaining.
Smith made a jumper at 18:28 left in the first half to start the scoring and give UNA what would be its only lead of the game.
Trey Fort scored five points and Hubbard had a 3-pointer and a four-point play as MSU opened a 14-4 lead.
The lead grew to 13 points on two occasions before Johnson made three consecutive Lions baskets to get them within 27-19.
Dashawn Davis made two free throws for the Bulldogs before UNA trimmed the lead to five points.
Hubbard’s basket started a 7-0 run that pushed the lead to 12 before the Lions scored the final four points to cut MSU’s advantage to 36-28 at halftime.
–Field Level Media
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