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MSU men back in win column after beating UT Martin


Brett Hudson



STARKVILLE -- The first nine games of the Mississippi State men's basketball team did not see the Bulldogs grab more than 17 offensive rebounds in a single game. Twenty-two of them, 14 in the first half for 17 second-chance points. 


Then an 18-0 second-half run put the dagger in Tennessee-Martin. 


After one of the team's most lackluster offensive performances of the season in its first loss to Cincinnati, MSU (9-1) came back to shoot 50.7 percent from the field and score a total of 31 second-chance points in a 92-61 win over UT Martin (3-8) Saturday night at Humphrey Coliseum. 


Holman's 21 points and 12 rebounds, eight of them offensive, was his second consecutive double-double and third of the season. 


"(Offensive rebounding is) an every night thing," Holman said. "It's tough for them to box out because they're not matched up (in zone), it's something you have to take advantage of." 


Quinndary Weatherspoon also had 21 points, 11 of them coming in the 18-0 run in the second half that put the Skyhawks away. He was close to his first career triple-double, adding eight rebounds and seven assists, plus four steals. 


A matter of days after getting zero points from its bench in the Cincinnati loss, MSU's bench came alive with 31 points. Few bench scorers were more pivotal for the future than guard Lamar Peters, bouncing back for nine points -- all on successful 3-point attempts -- after missing seven 3-pointers and 11 total shots in the loss to Cincinnati. 


"I was really happy for him, and we expect that," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "We put some work in when we got back (from Cincinnati). He shot it well and shot it with confidence, and that was nice." 


Also off the bench, forwards Eli Wright and Xavian Stapleton each had nine points. That's a new season high for Stapleton and the most for Wright since the season opener against Alabama State when he scored 12. 


Abdul Ado only added six points, but made his presence felt defensively with 12 rebounds, three blocks and a steal. His steal was one of eight for MSU, which Howland pointed to as a key in MSU's win given the 21 points off turnovers. That method was particularly effective in the second half: all 12 of MSU's fastbreak points came in the second half while MSU shot 67.7 percent in the final 20 minutes. 


MSU has three non-conference games remaining: at home against Little Rock on Wednesday and North Florida on Dec. 30 with a game against Southern Miss in Jackson in between the two on Dec. 23. MSU opens Southeastern Conference play at home against Arkansas on January 2. 


Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson



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