Mississippi St. uses 2nd half to get clear of C. Arkansas

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — D.J. Stewart Jr. scored 17 points and Tolu Smith had a double-double and Mississippi State beat Central Arkansas 81-65 on Wednesday night.

Smith finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, Jalen Johnson scored 15 and Iverson Molinar 14 for the Bulldogs (4-3). Mississippi State had a 41-33 rebounding advantage with 13 offensive rebounds leading to 19 second-chance points.

Eddy Kayouloud scored 20 on 8-for-11 shooting for Central Arkansas (0-6), Rylan Bergersen scored 15 and Deandre Jones 10.

The Bears saw their first four games canceled due to COVID-19 and now have played six straight away from home. Their first scheduled game at home won’t occur until January 6 when they take on New Orleans.

But despite their travels they proved feisty in the first half and only trailed 39-35.

However, an 8-2 burst after halftime, which started with a 3-pointer from Molinar, served as the beginning of Mississippi State’s pulling away. Johnson’s 3-pointer with 14:45 to go extended the lead to 54-41.

Wednesday’s game was the third time that Mississippi State and Central Arkansas had met. The Bulldogs have won all three. Prior to the game the most recent was a 79-72 victory in Jackson, Mississippi on Dec. 22, 2012.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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