Measuring up: MSU's McCowan takes over during win over Oregon

MSU's Teaira McCowan goes up to score.
Staff Writer

Wednesday night was the first measuring stick game for No. 5 Mississippi State as it took on No. 9 Oregon at Humphrey Coliseum.

What the 5,445 in attendance in many more at home found out is that measurement went about 6-7 in the form of junior center Teaira McCowan of the Bulldogs.

“I told her in the pre game that she could get as much as she wanted (Wednesday),” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “I had seen another team’s inside player dominate (Oregon). I just thought she could walk around and score.”

State’s star in the post attacked early and often with a career-high 35 points on 15-of-18 shooting and had 19 rebounds and five blocks as State knocked off Oregon and a top 10 affair 90-79.

Not to be too outdone, Victoria Vivians also exploded in the game. The senior had 30 points of her own, scoring 26 in the second half hit 5-of-8 3s.

“I tried to get going defensively before I did offensively,” Vivians said. “I just went out and played basketball.”

McCowan was as dominant in the first half as she has been at any moment in her Bulldog career.

The junior preseason second-team All-Southeastern Conference pick cleaned up all the boards and scored at will on her way to 21 points and 10 rebounds. She was 10-of-11 shooting in the first 20 minutes.

During those 20 minutes, things went back and forth. MSU led 23-19 after one quarter and Oregon twice cut the lead to one point until the Bulldogs took control.

Over the next 3:49, MSU outscored the Ducks 13-2 as the defense clamped down and McCowan and VIvians went to work. By the half, the game had begun to get out of control for the visitors with the Bulldogs leading 45-33.

In the third quarter, Oregon made another push cutting the lead down to eight early. Vivians had other plans for the Ducks, however as she poured in 11 points in the quarter and pushed State’s lead out to 20 points.
Oregon cut that lead down to 10 in the fourth quarter, but McCowan and Vivians refused to let that lead slip.

Vivians banged home a couple of 3-pointers and McCowan continued grabbing rebounds and scoring points as State nursed its healthy lead to comfortably move to 10-0 this year.

McCowan had 19 of the 29 rebounds for the Bulldogs in the game.

MSU won the game despite giving up 56 percent shooting to the Ducks. The Bulldogs shot 54 percent themselves and made 7-of-16 from 3-point range. A major difference outside of McCowan and Vivians’ scoring prowess was MSU’s ability to take care of the ball turning it over just eight times in the game and turning Oregon over 15 times.

Along with McCowan and Vivians, Morgan William was in double figures with 13 points with four assists and no turnovers.

The victory was State’s 32nd-straight regular season, non-conference win dating back to 2015. The Bulldogs continue to put that streak on the line Sunday when they host Maine for a 2 p.m. contest.

After the game on Wednesday night, Schaefer learned much about his team moving forward.

“We were pretty good, especially offensively,” Schaefer said. “I just think that people are having a hard time guarding us right now. These kids are making shots. They’re confident. You look out on the floor and you see a presence.”