Historic rout for Missouri at Mississippi State

At Mississippi State

Alex Oriakhi of Missouri hauls in a rebound in front of Mississippi State’s Gavin Ware during the first half of Wednesday night’s game in Starkville, Miss.

Alex Oriakhi of Missouri hauls in a rebound in front of Mississippi State’s Gavin Ware during the first half of Wednesday night’s game in Starkville, Miss. Photo by The Associated Press.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Keion Bell raced down the floor late in the second half before realizing he wasn’t being followed.

Then the 6-foot-4 senior slowed down, took his time, and threw down a spectacular 360-degree dunk.

It was a fitting final image: Missouri putting on a show and Mississippi State doing absolutely nothing to stop it.

Bell scored 24 points, Jabari Brown added 20 and Missouri easily beat Mississippi State 78-36 on Wednesday night to hand the Bulldogs their worst home loss in the history of Humphrey Coliseum, which opened in 1975.

Missouri (18-6, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening minutes and led 34-10 by halftime. It took Mississippi State (7-16, 2-9) more than nine minutes to score its first basket — a 3-pointer by Colin Borchert — but by then the game was basically finished.

“It was great to get out and get a good start,” Brown said. “Home or on the road, you never want to play from behind.”

Missouri won its first road game of the season. Mississippi State’s losing streak has reached nine games and spanned more than a month.

It is Mississippi State’s longest losing streak since 1987. Trivante Bloodman led the Bulldogs with 13 points.

“To be quite frank, this is an embarrassing loss,” Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said. “We were inept on offense.”

Missouri led by as many as 44 points in the second half. The Tigers shot 31-of-58 (53.4 percent) from the field.

Bell finished 10-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. His 24 points tied a season high and the performance was punctuated by the 360-degree dunk late in the second half. The 50 or so Missouri fans in the upper deck of Humphrey Coliseum went wild. The rest of the building groaned.

“Keion has really gotten more confident,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “He’s had further to come as far as his game. He’s really starting to learn his shots.”

Brown was 7-of-11 from the field. Missouri outrebounded Mississippi State 46-25.

Missouri’s first road win of the season came with ease. The Tigers pushed ahead 23-4 on Bell’s jumper with 7:11 remaining and were never challenged.

Mississippi State continues to explore the depths of ineptitude with only six scholarship players and two walk-ons in the playing rotation. The Bulldogs haven’t won since beating Georgia on Jan. 12 and now face two road games over the next week against LSU and Alabama.

It took Mississippi State more than nine minutes and 12 shot attempts to score. Borchert finally got the Bulldogs on the board with his 3-pointer, but the points didn’t come much faster after that.

It’s been a trying season for Ray, whose roster has been decimated by defections and injuries during his first season. But nobody in the SEC is going to feel sorry for the Bulldogs, and they found that out once again during Wednesday’s beatdown.

“It’s like one of the coaches said, we’ve got seven games left whether we like it or not,” Mississippi State freshman Gavin Ware said.

Mississippi State shot just 4-of-25 (16 percent) in the first half. Missouri’s Bell outscored the Bulldogs by himself in that half, scoring 16 to lead the Tigers.

The Bulldogs looked a little better early in the second half. A Roquez Johnson free throw pulled Mississippi State within 42-23 with 14:56 left but Missouri scored the next 12 points to erase what little doubt remained.

Mississippi State couldn’t shoot from anywhere. The Bulldogs were just 11-of-46 (23.9 percent) from the field, 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) on 3-pointers and 11-of-22 (50 percent) on free throws.

“I didn’t think we played great defense, but the root of our problems were on the offensive end,” Ray said. “Our inability to make crisp passes or throwing it at guys’ ankles took some good looks away.”

Mimssouri returns to action Saturday afternoon at Arkansas.

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