STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)Reggie Perry had 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 69-44 win over Mississippi on Saturday night.
It was Perry’s Southeastern Conference-leading 17th double-double of the season and 26th of his career. Mississippi State (20-11) finishes the regular season with an 11-7 SEC record, the most conference wins for the Bulldogs since winning 12 in the 2007-08 campaign.
Nick Weatherspoon and Robert Woodard II each had 11 points for Mississippi State while senior Tyson Carter had nine points in his final home game at Humphrey Coliseum.
Perry was 7 of 13 from the floor and sank 8 of 9 free-throw attempts.
“I just wanted to get in good position (in the post),” Perry said. “The guys did a good job feeding me and I was in good position. And coach (Ben) Howland did a good job calling our offense and our sets.”
Devontae Shuler led Ole Miss (15-16, 6-12) with 16 points while Breein Tyree added 11. Tyree scored 40 points in the Rebels’ 83-58 win over Mississippi State on Feb. 11. Saturday he shot just 4 of 13 from the field and 1 of 6 beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs opened the second half on a 15-6 run to quickly put the game out of reach, and led by as many as 27 points.
“Really excited for our team, our fans,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. “It was our best defensive performance that I can remember here at Mississippi State, and I can’t remember a time when our defense was so good. Doubling ball screens on Tyree really benefited us, and this was the best defense we played all year.”
Mississippi State shot 46.2% from the field and made 19 of 24 from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs held a 42-30 rebounding advantage that included 11 offensive boards.
Ole Miss shot just 29.4% from the floor and made only 2 of 17 shots beyond the arc. The Rebels were 12 of 17 from the free-throw line, had 11 turnovers and shot just 19.2% in the second half.
“Mississippi State played just like an NCAA Tournament team and they deserve to be in the tournament,” said Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis. “To have that many wins in this league, no doubt that team can go win games in the NCAA Tournament. They were just better than us and they beat us in every facet today. Mississippi State executed really good.”
The opening minutes featured five ties until Mississippi State started to grab control late in the first half. Perry scored on three straight possessions to highlight a 10-0 run and gave the Bulldogs a 28-21 lead with 4:41 left in the half.
The Bulldogs continued to close strong in the first half, stretching the lead to 39-23 in the closing seconds and led 39-25 at halftime.
The Bulldogs overcame a slow offensive start to shoot 50% in the opening half. Mississippi State made 1 of 6 beyond the arc and 14 of 16 at the free-throw line. Ole Miss shot just 40% in the first half and had eight turnovers. The Rebels made 2 of 9 attempts on 3 pointers and were 3 of 5 at the line.
“We have to regroup and I’ve been disappointed with our team’s effort all year on the road. It’s something we have to get fixed before next year. It’s just our toughness and we are not tough on the road,” Davis said.
Mississippi State held a 16-14 rebounding edge in the first half and had just three turnovers.
Ole Miss: The Rebels’ road struggles continued on Saturday. Ole Miss finished the regular season 1-10 on the road, including a 1-8 mark inside the SEC.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs clinched their third straight 20-win season under coach Ben Howland. It marks just the third time the program has posted at least three 20-win seasons in a row.
Ole Miss: The Rebels play Georgia on Wednesday in the opening round of the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs receive a double-bye for the SEC tournament and will play on Friday.
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