STARKVILLE – Mississippi State looked every bit like a team that hadn’t played a game in 11 days.
Ben Howland’s bunch came out rusty and couldn’t keep pace with a sharp-shooting squad from Louisiana Tech. The visiting Bulldogs nailed 10 3-pointers in a 74-67 victory Thursday night at Humphrey Coliseum.
“It’s a long stretch to go without playing,” Howland said. “What probably did hurt us is timing it like this because our guys are stressed working on their finals tomorrow. It was probably stupid on my part to schedule that game tonight, the day before finals.”
MSU maintained the lead for the majority of the first half but allowed Daquan Bracey to bank in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Louisiana Tech a 39-36 lead at halftime.
State only saw the lead once more the remainder of the game as Louisiana Tech continued to heat up from long range. LA Tech knocked down 10 of 16 from behind the arc led by Bracey, who was 4 of 4.
“We’ve just got to give them credit, they brought it tonight and we didn’t,” said MSU guard Tyson Carter. “They’re an older, veteran team and came out ready to play and obviously we weren’t.”
Louisiana Tech (6-2) finished shooting 48.1 percent from the field with Bracey scoring 16 points. Amorie Archibald added 15 points while Derric Jean, Isaiah Crawford and Kalob Ledoux had 10 apiece.
Mississippi State (6-2) shot the ball well on the other end. MSU made 47.2 percent from the floor and were 11 of 23 from long range.
“We shot well enough from the field to win this game,” Howland said. “Our defense in both of our losses has really let us down.”
Carter had 20 points including five of his six makes from behind the arc while Reggie Perry recorded his fourth double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds but did not have a free throw attempt.
Mississippi State will have another long layoff due to final exams. State takes on Kansas State on Dec. 14 at the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, New Jersey.