Tolu Smith powers Mississippi St. to win over Mizzou

Tolu Smith scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as host Mississippi State defeated Missouri 63-52 Saturday in Starkville, Miss., for its third straight victory.

D.J Jeffries added 10 points and got nine rebounds for the Bulldogs (15-8, 3-7 Southeastern Conference), who led the entire game while winning for the 12th time in their last 13 games against Missouri.

DeAndre Gholston scored 12 points, D’Moi Hodge tallied 11 and Kobe Brown added 10 for the Tigers (17-6, 5-5). They came into the game averaging 83.3 points but finished with their season-low total.

Mississippi State shot just 3-for-20 from 3-point range but scored 32 points in the paint.

Missouri shot just 1-for-11 from 3-point range in the first half and 6-for-23 for the game.

The Bulldogs opened the game with an 8-1 run, capped by Shakeel Moore’s 3-point jumper. They pushed their lead to 17-10 as Moore hit another 3-pointer.

They kept pounding the ball into Smith, whose strong low-post play drew three first-half fouls on forward Noah Carter. Missouri had to deploy seldom-used walk-on Mabor Majak, a 7-foot center, to defend Smith for stretches.

After the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 20-12, the Tigers tied the game with a 14-6 surge triggered by Isiaih Mosley’s 3-point jumper.

But Mississippi State closed the half with a 7-1 run, with Jeffries getting to the rim twice, to pull out a 33-27 lead.

The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 12-4 push to expand their lead to 45-31. Jeffries got the Bulldogs started with a 3-point jumper and Smith attacked the basket for seven more points.

The Tigers stabilized with Nick Honor’s two 3-point jumpers and Brown’s two drives to the basket. That cut their deficit to 45-41 with 10:38 left.

But the Bulldogs answered with an 11-2 run to re-establish control for good.

–Field Level Media