STARKVILLE, Miss.-- Vanderbilt's road woes continued Wednesday night. The Commodores entered Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum Wednesday night winless on the road, and left the same way. Rick Stansbury's physical, athletic Bulldogs bullied the Commodores, 82-60.
The loss ended a two-game SEC winning streak for Vanderbilt, which fell to 10-9 (3-5 in the conference). In picking up its fourth win in five games, No. 23 Mississippi State (14-5, 4-4) outshot Vanderbilt 56% to 43%, outrebounded the Commodores 38-24, and forced Vandy into 21 turnovers.
"We were probably lucky it wasn't any worse," said Kevin Stallings afterwards. "They're a great rebounding team, as athletic as any team in the league. We have to do some things to compensate for that, and we didn't.
"I was surprised at how we played, because we'd been playing well. I thought every player we had, maybe with the exception of [Matt] Freije, got knocked on his heels a little bit."
The Commodores were led by Freije's 21 points and 4-of-9 shooting from three-point range. The junior from Shawnee Mission, Kan., has now scored 72 points over the last three games. Sophomore center Brian Thornton added 13 points.
"You have to tip your hats to them," said Freije. "They're a very athletic team. They're very hard to guard."
The Bulldogs had five players in double figures-- Mario Austin (14), Timmy Bowers (14), Ontario Harper (13), Derrick Zimmerman (13) and Michael Ignerski (10).
The Bulldogs controlled the first half with their defense and transition game. Mississippi State had nine steals, and build a 36-24 halftime lead. The home Bulldogs opened the second half with a 16-6 run that pushed the lead to an insurmountable 52-30; the closest Vandy could come after that was 14 points at 61-47.
The Commodores return home Saturday night to face the South Carolina Gamecocks, which lost a road game Wednesday night to LSU. Gametime is 7:00 pm. The game is not scheduled for television.
NOTES: Little-used players Martin Schnedlitz and Matt Carter saw playing time in the waning minutes... Kevin Stallings was assessed a technical foul in the second half... the Commodores did not get a free throw attempt until the eighth minute of the second half... Vanderbilt's three-point streak was extended to 523 consecutive games, as the Commodores connected on 6-of-19 treys... Mississippi State has now beaten Vanderbilt three times in a row.