STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Reggie Perry had 25 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high six assists to lead Mississippi State to an 80-70 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Perry was 7 of 10 from the floor and 8 of 9 at the free throw line. He also notched his SEC-high 12th double-double of the season and has 22 career double-doubles. Nick Weatherspoon added a season-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (15-8 overall, 6-4 in the SEC) while Tyson Carter had 16.
"Coach (Ben) Howland told us to keep the ball moving and get the ball in the high post," said Perry. "We wanted to stretch the defense and we made some shots to help get them out of their zone. I felt some lanes were open early in the game, too, and I tried to deliver the ball on our backcuts."
Saben Lee had 20 points for Vanderbilt (9-14, 1-9) and Ejike Obinna had 12. Jordan Wright also finished in double digits for the Commodores with 11.
Trailing 35-31 at halftime, the Bulldogs made their first eight shots of the second half. That sparked a 16-4 run and gave them a 47-39 lead early in the second half. Mississippi State led by as many as 16 in the second half and the Commodores never got within six points thereafter.
"I was excited about the win," said Howland. "Vanderbilt came in here with a lot of momentum after their huge win over LSU. They really played well and we have to do a better job protecting a lead (in the first half). We came out in the second half and did a good job of being aggressive. We built some momentum early in the second half.
"Reggie had a tremendous all-around game with six assists and four blocked shots, too. It was just a hard-fought game and we had too many turnovers."
Mississippi State shot 52.5%, including a sizzling 62.5% in the second half. The Bulldogs made 19 of 25 at the free throw line and 5 of 14 beyond the arc. The Bulldogs had 15 assists, 16 turnovers, and a 37-30 rebounding advantage.
Vanderbilt shot 39.7% and made 19 of 23 at the foul line. The Commodores had 11 turnovers and made 6 of 24 beyond the arc.
"We competed hard and fought back a little bit," said Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse. "We tried to slow them down with a half-court press where we dropped back in a zone. It caused them a few problems but it was one of those games where we had opportunities and had good looks that didn't fall for us.
"Reggie Perry is playing at a high level right now and we tried to get the ball out of his hands. He is also an underrated passer out of the post."
Mississippi State jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the first half, thanks to eight straight points by Perry. The Bulldogs eventually stretched the lead to as many as eight points before Lee and the Commodores chipped away at the deficit.
A Lee 3 pointer cut the Mississippi State lead to 25-21 with 5:08 remaining in the opening half. The Commodores then closed the half on a 12-2 run and held a 35-31 advantage at the break.
Mississippi State shot 44.8% in the first half and made just 1 of 7 from 3 point territory. The Bulldogs were 4 of 5 at the free throw line and had eight turnovers. Mississippi State also held a 16-15 rebounding advantage in the first half.
Vanderbilt recovered from a slow start and shot 48.1% from the field in the opening half. The Commodores were 2 of 11 beyond the arc and 7 of 9 at the charity stripe.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores broke an SEC-record, 26-game conference losing streak earlier this week and now have lost 14 straight road SEC games. Vanderbilt's last road win in the SEC was at Ole Miss in March of 2018.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have now won six of their last seven games following an 0-3 start in SEC play. Mississippi State must go on the road for five of the next seven games.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores return home Tuesday and play host to Kentucky.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs return to the road and travel to rival Ole Miss on Tuesday.
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