Mississippi State Finishes Strong in Tough Opening Night 77-69 Win Over Florida International

Mississippi State overcame a slow start and a scrappy Florida International team to take a 77-69 victory in the opening contest of the 2019-20 season. The Bulldogs were led by their backcourt, as senior Tyson Carter and true freshman Iverson Molinar combined for 37 points, and sophomore All-American candidate Reggie Perry added 13 of his own. State trailed by as many as 7 in the early going, but used a 20-5 run to close the first half and grab the lead for good.

CARTER REMAINS RELIABLE

It was the lone senior in the starting lineup who kept Mississippi State afloat in the game’s opening moments. Carter hit three shots from deep in the first 6 minutes as Florida International came out punching. State trailed 23-16 before the offense finally starting clicking, taking a 26-25 lead with 5:31 left in the first half, an advantage the Bulldogs would not give back. Carter finished with 23 points on 8-16 shooting, including five makes from behind the arc.

PERRY’S QUIET NIGHT

Reggie Perry’s quest to become an NBA lottery pick didn’t get off to a blazing start, but in the end, the sophomore forward finished the night with 13 points and 7 rebounds, along with 3 nifty assists. Perry didn’t assert himself in this game or show off a lot of the skills that made him a preseason All-SEC selection, but he did enough to push the Bulldogs across the finish line. Perry will assuredly have big games throughout the season, but it is worth nothing the Bulldogs were able to control the game for the most part without a huge game from their superstar.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Sam Houston State was a first round NIT team a season ago, and they play with the kind of fast pace MSU saw on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs will look to go to 2-0, tipoff is at the Humphrey Coliseum on Friday at 7 PM.

Here’s the audio from tonight’s postgame press conference with Coach Ben Howland, as he lays out what he saw from the bench in tonight’s win.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics