Mississippi State pulls away to down WVU
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- West Virginia's first basketball trip here finally headed south in the final seven minutes.
Mississippi State, led by the inside-outside duo of Arnett Moultrie and Dee Bost, finished the Big East-SEC Challenge on Saturday night with a 75-62 victory over the Mountaineers.
The 21st-ranked Bulldogs (8-1), winning for the seventh straight time, took advantage of their strength and quickness -- and eventually the foul problems of WVU (4-2) - to pull away from a 52-52 tie with eight minutes remaining.
It was WVU's only non-league road game of the season, and it didn't go well for the Mountaineers, who wrapped the 12-game conference challenge with the Big East still owning an 8-4 edge.
A crowd of 7,529 at Humphrey Coliseum fueled MSU, which got game highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds from the 6-foot-11 junior transfer (UTEP), Moultrie.
WVU's season scoring leader, 6-8 Kevin Jones, was saddled with three fouls by halftime. He played 25 minutes and scored 14 points and had a team-best nine rebounds, but his absence hurt the Mountaineers at key times.
"Some of them were my own fault, ticky-tack fouls I don't normally make," said Jones, who shared the WVU scoring lead on the night with center Deniz Kilicli. "I just caught myself being over-aggressive.
WVU won the rebounding battle despite the Bulldogs starting 6-10 Renardo Sidney with the 6-11 Moultrie, but 2-for-15 shooting from 3-point range helped undo the visitors.
And with Jones in and out throughout the game, it didn't help that WVU's other senior, guard Truck Bryant, went almost 17 minutes without scoring in one stretch - while his counterpart, Bost, finished with 17 points and seven assists in 38 minutes.
Jones and Bryant were a combined 1-of-12 on 3-point shots.
"If those guys don't make wide open shots, we're not going to win," WVU Coach Bob Huggins said.
The Mountainerers head to Wichita, Kan., for a neutral site date with Kansas State on Thursday at 9 p.m. (ESPN2), then have a quick turnaround with a Saturday night game at the WVU Coliseum against Miami (ESPN2).