AP NEWS

Perry lifts Mississippi State over Kent State 96-68

December 31, 2019 GMT

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State sophomore Reggie Perry played his most complete game of the season on Monday and had a career night.

Perry set career highs with 26 points and 17 rebounds to lead Mississippi State past Kent State 96-68.

Perry was 8 of 16 from the floor and 10 of 14 at the free throw line for the Bulldogs (9-3). He joins Robert Woodard as the only other SEC player this year to collect 20 or more points and 15 or more rebounds in a single game. Woodard scored 21 points and had 16 rebounds against New Orleans earlier this month.

“I felt like I was in the flow of the game early,” said Perry. “I’ve had a hard time playing two good halves this year and I got it done tonight. We started it all on the defensive end and coach (Ben) Howland reminded us it starts on the defensive end.”

Iverson Molinar added 16 points for the Bulldogs while D.J. Stewart finished with 12. Robert Woodard and Nick Weatherspoon also finished in double digits for Mississippi State with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Mississippi State shot 55.4% for the game and held a commanding 40-28 advantage on the backboards. Kent State shot 41% in the second half and ended the game with 14 turnovers. The Bulldogs also held a major advantage at the free throw line and made 29 of 38 foul shots. Kent State made 12 of 16 at the charity stripe.

“I was really happy with our performance tonight,” said Howland. “I thought we did a good job after facing an early deficit and that’s a good team we played. That’s why we played them and their older group will win a lot of games. I thought Nick (Weatherspooon) was more settled down tonight and obviously, Reggie Perry was dominant on the glass and dominant around the basket.”

Anthony Roberts led Kent State (10-3) with 16 points. Danny Pippen added 11 and Antonio Williams had 10 points for the Golden Flashes.

“It was a disappointing loss,” said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. “Those guys came out with a purpose. We got up early and then they really came out at a high level. It was our worst loss of the year and they were getting layups and getting to the basket whenever they wanted”.

Kent State closed a six-point halftime deficit to just two points early in the second half. But Mississippi State responded with a 17-6 run to grab control midway through the second half. Within that stretch, Troy Simon collected a technical foul for Kent State and also fouled out in the process. That span led to a five-point possession for the Bulldogs to spark the run.

Troy Simons’ 4-point play gave the Golden Flashes an early 9-1 advantage and they led by as many as nine in the first half.

But the Bulldogs started to find a groove late in the first half, and reeled off a 14-2 run to take their first lead at 38-37 following a Woodard bucket. Mississippi State closed out the half on a 17-4 run and led 45-39 at halftime.

Mississippi State shot a sizzling 60% in the first half while Kent State shot 50% from the field. Kent State also had seven first-half turnovers while the Bulldogs had five.

BIG PICTURE

Kent State: The Golden Flashes finished off their nonconference slate at 10-3. That included losses at Mississippi State and Ohio State along with Cal-Irvine.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs now enter SEC play with some momentum after posting a season-high in points on Monday against Kent State.

UP NEXT

Kent State: The Golden Flashes open up conference play on Friday and travel to Bowling Green in the MAC opener.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs begin SEC action on Saturday and host undefeated Auburn.

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