STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)Reggie Perry had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Mississippi State past Radford 77-68 on Wednesday.
The Bulldogs (8-2) also received a double-double from Abdul Ado, who had season highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Robert Woodard also had 17 points and nine rebounds for Mississippi State while D.J. Stewart added 10 points.
Carlik Jones led Radford (3-7) with 15 points. Donald Hicks had 12 points and Chryee Walker added 10.
Ado was 5 of 9 from the field and 7 of 9 at the free throw line and had six offensive boards. Ado averages 5.4 points per game but has produced 39 points and 29 rebounds in the last three games.
”Just having a lot of confidence and being aggressive on the offensive end,” Ado said. ”I do a lot on defense so why not try to do a lot on offense? My teammates have a lot of confidence in me and fed me the ball. We emphasize offensive rebounding in practice and a key thing we have to do is go to the glass every time. Because of our size, we have to take advantage of that every game.”
Mississippi State shot 46.2% and held a commanding 37-26 advantage on the boards. The Bulldogs outscored Radford 32-12 in the paint and had 26 second-chance points.�
Radford was the fourth defending conference champion to play Mississippi State so far this season.
”That was a tough one,” Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland said. ”Obviously their 3-point shooting in the first half was a problem for us. We changed ball screens in the second half to make it harder for their guards. Credit our defense to holding them to 30% shooting in the second half. They’re a good team and we did a really good job of making our foul shots. I am also really proud of Abdul (Ado) and his confidence is growing, offensively.”
Radford made 15 of 32 shots beyond the arc but made just 26% of 3 pointer attempts in the second half. The Highlanders were 7 of 12 at the free throw line but Mississippi State was 25 of 30 at the charity stripe.
Radford led for the first eight minutes of the second half until the Bulldogs drew even at 55-55 on a Woodard free throw. Then the Bulldogs reeled off an 18-2 run to take control in the final three minutes of the game.
”It was a better effort by our team tonight,” Radford head coach Mike Jones said. ”We were gritty and tough, and we want that to be our identity. It is not the size of the dog but the size of the heart of that dog. We didn’t get the result we wanted but if we continue to play that way, we will get good results.”
Mississippi State jumped out to an early 10-3 advantage following a long 3 pointer by Woodard. But Radford got hot beyond the arc and did not cool off the rest of the half. The Highlanders made four straight 3 pointers to highlight a 22-7 run and held a 28-19 lead with 8:29 left in the half.
Mississippi State kept chipping away at the Radford lead and cut the deficit to 31-29 following a Perry 3-point play. But Jones drilled another 3 to beat the halftime buzzer and Radford led 42-38 at halftime.
Radford made 11 of 17 attempts beyond the arc in the first half and shot 53.6 percent overall from the field. Mississippi State shot 50 percent in the first half but had eight turnovers.
Radford: The Highlanders had another close call within its difficult non-conference schedule. Radford is now 3-7 this season with losses at Mississippi State, Liberty and Bradley by less than nine points.
Mississippi State: Junior point guard Nick Weatherspoon missed the first 10 games of the season due to an NCAA suspension that began last season. Wednesday was the final game of that suspension and the Bulldogs finished 8-2 in that 10-game stretch. He started 23 of 24 games last season.
Radford: The Highlanders travel to Washington D.C., to face Richmond in a neutral-site matchup.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs face New Mexico State on Sunday in Jackson, Miss.