STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Tolu Smith scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and coach Chris Jans won in his Mississippi State debut, a 63-44 season-opening victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Monday night.
Jans previously coached at New Mexico State, where he led the Aggies from 2017-2022.
Smith shot 8 of 10 from the floor and added three assists. It was the 14th career double-double for the senior forward. Shakeel Moore added 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Terrion Murdix scored 10 points to lead Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. De’Lazarus Keys and Isaac Mushila each added eight points.
The Islanders built a 30-25 halftime lead behind Murdix’s 10 points. The game was tied 34-34 before Smith converted a three-point play and Moore’s layup gave the Bulldogs a 39-34 lead.
Trevian Tennyson hit a 3-pointer to get the Islanders within 39-37 with 12:34 remaining, but then the Islanders went cold, missing 14 of their last 17 shots from the field and shot just 21% overall in the second half. Smith scored six points and three others each made a 3-pointer in the final 10 minutes for the Bulldogs.
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