Bulldogs Trounce Tigers

BATON ROUGE, La. - In the Southeastern Conference opener for both squads, Mississippi State (10-5, 1-0) corraled the homestanding LSU Tigers (7-8, 0-1) Wednesday evening, 61-39, by holding the home team to a new season-low 21.2 percent from the floor.

Sophomore standout Jarvis Varnado fell just three blocks shy of a triple-double by contributing his second-straight double-double with a career-high 17 rebounds complemented by 13 points and seven blocks. Jamont Gordon also pitched in 13 points and six rebounds, and sophomore Barry Stewart rounded out State scorers in double digits with 11, along with six rebounds and five assists.

Approaching the game with both Chris Johnson and Tasmin Mitchell on the bench due to injury, the LSU Tigers fell behind quickly to State's sticky defense, as MSU began the game on a 10-2 run and maintained a healthy lead throughout most of the first half. Marcus Thornton trimmed State's 25-19 lead to just three with a successful free throw conversion. However, that is as close as LSU would bring the game, as the Bulldogs responded with a powerful 13-2 run and furthered their suffocating defense to return home with the victory.

Thornton and Anthony Randolph led LSU in scoring with 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the affair.

Ranked 11th in the nation and atop the SEC in field goal percentage defense, State held LSU to just 14-of-66 shooting as a team. The Tigers' 39 points was also the lowest scoring total for the team this season.

Now on a season-best five-game win streak, State has posted an average victory margin of 22.8 points and an average rebound margin of +10.8 rebounds per game during that timeframe. Also during the recent five-game stretch, MSU has held opponents to a collective 32.1% mark from the floor while shooting 50.5% in those contests.

With the win, head coach Rick Stansbury has posted an 8-2 record in SEC openers, while MSU has now recorded victories in 22 of the last 31 matchups against the Tigers, including nine of the last 15 played in the Maverick Assembly Center.

The defending SEC Western Division champion Bulldogs will open the home SEC slate against Georgia this Saturday at 1 p.m. CT in Humphrey Coliseum. The game will be televised regionally by Raycom Sports.

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