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Hot-Shooting No. 17 MSU Bulldozes Troy, 106-60

STARKVILLE, Miss. - As the holiday break begins on the Mississippi State campus, the Basketball Bulldogs were found sharing the basketball Saturday afternoon.

No. 17 MSU placed five players in double figures and dished out an amazing 30 assists in a 106-68 rout of Troy at the Humphrey Coliseum.

"Believe it not, Troy had been playing quite well coming into this game," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "They were leading the nation in 3-point shooting. That got our attention. They were making 12 3-pointers per game coming in. We held them to eight, with two of those coming the last five minutes. We did a great job of guarding the 3-point line."

The Bulldogs won their eighth-straight game overall and ninth straight contest against the Trojans. Saturday's result was much different than last season's 92-83 overtime win by MSU.

In the postgame, Troy coach Don Maestri drew comparisons between this year's MSU team to MSU's Final Four team in 1996. In that season, the Bulldogs took a 123-73 victory.

"They have similar speed and athleticism," Maestri said. "Right now, it is still a young team. They are still trying to find their identity. They certainly have the talent and athleticism to be a very dangerous tournament team."

For the Bulldogs, the 30 assists ranks seventh all-time. MSU last had that many in a 1990 victory over Alcorn State. MSU matched a school-record with 16 made 3-points baskets, while the Bulldogs also had a season-best 46 rebounds.

The Bulldogs topped the century mark for the first time since a 105-53 against St. Bonaventure in 2009.

"We got a lot of players involved," MSU senior guard Dee Bost said. "That is when we are at our best. We showed signs of what we are capable of doing on offense today."

The Bulldogs used electric ball-moving and a lightning-quick transition game to blow out to an early lead. Troy held a brief 5-3 lead before the Bulldogs scored the game's next five points. MSU then pulled away from an 8-8 tie with an 8-2 run. A dunk by Arnett Moultrie sparked the crowd of 5,153 and extended the lead to 16-10.

After a technical foul led to a pair of Troy free throws, the Bulldogs answered with the game's next 10 points. A dunk by Renardo Sidney, 3-point basket by DeVille Smith and a jumper by Moultrie extended the lead to 37-19.

MSU shot 61.1 percent in the opening half while cruising into the intermission with a 54-26 lead.

"Troy is primarily a zone team," Stansbury said. "We had several guys who stepped up and made shots. After we made some outside shots that allowed us to penetrate the zone. We got some easy baskets underneath after that. We were very efficient all day on the offensive end of the floor."

The Bulldogs continued their strong offensive performance in the game's second half. MSU still shot 51.4 percent in that half and built the lead to as many as 47 with a 15-2 run late in the half.

MSU topped the century mark on a dunk by Sidney with 5:10 left.

The Maroon and White were paced by 28 points from Dee Bost. The senior guard now has 1,301 career points, which moved him past Timmy Bowers into 17th on the school's all-time list. Moultrie added 20 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
Sidney added a season-high 18 points and season-high eight rebounds in 22 minutes.

Jalen Steele rammed home five 3-point baskets and finished with 15 points in a season-best 31 minutes. Rodney Hood added 12 points.

"You have to be proud for Jalen," Stansbury said. "When the season began, he is the only player who was really searching for his shot. Three weeks ago, he would shoot the ball hoping it would go in. Now, he is shooting the ball and expecting it to go in."

Bost also had nine assists, which places him 19 shy of setting a school record. Hood had a career-high six assists, while DeVille Smith set new personal bests with four steals and five assists.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 40 of 71 shots from the field (56.3 percent), 16 of 31 shots from 3-point range (51.6 percent) and 10 of 13 shots from the foul line (76.9 percent). The Trojans hit 27 of 83 shots from the field (32.5 percent), 8 of 35 shots from 3-point range (22.9 percent) and 6 of 10 shots from the foul line (60.0 percent).

The teams were even in rebounds at 46. MSU had 30 assists and 13 turnovers, while Troy had 11 assists and 13 turnovers.

Troy received 15 points from Emil Jones, 11 points from Will Weathers and 10 points from R.J. Scott.

MSU hosts Florida Atlantic at 8 p.m. Tuesday. That contest will be televised regionally by CSS



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