OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Iverson Molinar scored 17 points, Mississippi State picked up 36 in the paint, and the Bulldogs defeated in-state rival Ole Miss 66-56 on Saturday.
D.J. Stewart Jr. added 16 points with six assists and Tolu Smith scored 12 points as the Bulldogs (12-11, 6-8 Southeastern Conference) avenged an 18-point home loss to Mississippi on Jan. 19.
The Bulldogs and Rebels (12-9, 7-7) had gone in opposite directions since the two teams’ first meeting. State dropped six of its last seven SEC outings, while Ole Miss won six of its last eight SEC games.
KJ Buffen was the only Ole Miss player to reach double figures with 13 points. Devontae Shuler, who was averaging 21.8 points per game during Ole Miss’ four-game win streak — including two against Top 10 foes — was held to four points on 1-of-15 shooting, 0-for-6 from distance.
The Rebels shot 38% (21 of 55) and made just 5 of 19 3-point shots.
Mississippi State opened with a pair of dunks from Abdul Ado and Smith and never trailed. The Bulldogs led 31-25 at the break and Molinar scored 12 of his 17 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to keep Ole Miss at bay.
The Rebels and the Bulldogs are the SEC’s most-played rivalry, having met 263 times, and Ole Miss had won 11 of the previous 15 matchups.
The Bulldogs host South Carolina on Wednesday. Ole Miss is at No. 20 Missouri on Tuesday.
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