Baton Rouge, LA-Mississippi State could not overcome a slow start Wednesday night as it dropped a 92-81 decision to LSU in a Southeastern Conference men’s basketball game at the Maravich Assembly Center.
Craig Sword led the offensive attack with 33 points, becoming the first Bulldog player to score 30 or more points since Ravern Johnson did it Nov. 26, 2010 against Troy. Sword hit 11-of-16 shots from the field, 10-of-14 shots from the foul line, while also having three assists and three rebounds, before fouling out with less than three minutes remaining.
LSU improved to 16-9 overall and 7-6 in league play, while MSU fell to 13-13 and 3-10. The Bulldogs have now dropped eight straight games in league play.
In the opening stages of the game, LSU quickly built a 16-1 advantage. The lead would grow to 24-4 before MSU made its push. The Bulldogs would close within single digits down the stretch but could not get over the hump.
“We spotted them 15 points to start the game,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “We would have been better off giving them the points and not playing the actual game because of the fouls we were collecting. You can’t beat a quality on the road with that kind of start.
“Beyond that, we just have to look at how we are defending people. We have way too much foul trouble. We have to guard without fouling. I think guys are moving their feet well. We were not having a lot of fouls called early in league play so we just have to look at what we are doing.”
After falling down 24-4, the Bulldogs got six straight points from Sword. The Bulldogs closed within six points on two free throws by De’Runnya Wilson 7:28 left in the half.
With a lot of reserves in the lineup, due in part to the foul trouble, the Bulldogs trailed 42-31 at the intermission.