MSU drops SEC battle of the Bulldogs

ATHENS, Ga. - A quick start lifted the Georgia men's basketball team to an 86-64 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi State Saturday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.
The homestanding Bulldogs were never headed after an early 11-0 run. UGA hit its first four 3-point shot attempts and actually sprinted to as much as a 19-point advantage in the opening half of play.
Georgia finished with its second-best offensive day of the season, trailing only the 98 points scored earlier this month in a 98-76 win over Ole Miss.
"They really out-toughed us from the very beginning of the game," MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. "We weren't good enough to beat a quality team on the road on either end of the floor."
With the defeat, MSU fell to 10-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Winning the middle of a three-game homestand, Georgia improved to 14-4 and 3-2. While snapping a three-game losing streak in the series, Georgia improved to 9-1 at home this season.
MSU's Renardo Sidney scored the game's first points with a basket on the opening possession. UGA responded with the game's next 11 points, as MSU went more than three minutes before its next field goal.
A 3-pointer by Dustin Ware gave UGA an 11-2 advantage. The visiting Bulldogs continued to look for offensive answers, as UGA continued to dial long distance. A 3-pointer by Trey Thompkins ran the UGA advantage to 21-7 with 13:45 left in the half
The Maroon and White battled back with a pair of 3-point possessions from Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson. However, UGA ran the advantage out to a half's best at 38-19 on a Ware 3-pointer with 4:25 left before halftime.
MSU responded with a 10-2 run, sparked in part by a give-and-go layup from Brian Bryant and followed-up steal and dunk by Johnson.
Georgia led 42-29 at halftime.
"Georgia has not been a real good first-shot against the zone type of team this year," Stansbury said. "However, they have been real good at second shots on the offensive end. Unfortunately today, they made those first-shot 3's and totally dominated us on the boards, as well."
UGA scored on back-to-back possessions to begin the game's final half.
The Maroon and White closed back within 13 on three occasions, including after a Johnson 3-point make with 14:50 left. That trey cut the deficit to 51-38.
Georgia answered quickly, scoring the game's next eight points, to move back out of danger.
"When we got it down to 13, we were really ready to make a run," said Bost, a junior guard for MSU. "However, they kept making shots. Give credit to Georgia, they really made a lot of shots today."
For the contest, MSU hit 22 of 53 shots from the field (41.5 percent), 7 of 24 shots from 3-point range (29.2 percent) and 13 of 19 shots from the foul line (68.4 percent). Georgia hit 32 of 65 shots from the field (49.2 percent), 11 of 19 shots from 3-point range (57.9 perceant) and 11 of 21 shots from the foul line (52.4 percent).
UGA held a 48-23 rebounding advantage. MSU had seven assists and 11 turnovers, while UGA had 19 assists and 14 turnovers.
Bost paced MSU with 20 points, while Sidney added 15 points and Johnson scored 13 points. Sidney also had a team-best nine rebounds.
Georgia also had three players in double figures. Gerald Robinson and Travis Leslie each had 17 points, while Thompkins scored 15 points.
MSU will host a pair of games this week in the Humphrey Coliseum. First up is Vanderbilt in a 6 p.m. start Thursday. Florida follows in a noon start Saturday. The MSU-Vanderbilt will be televised nationally by either ESPN or ESPN2, while the MSU-Florida game will be shown regionally by CBS.