Lewis, Smith contribute to MSU easy home hoops win
MSU freshman guard DeVille Smith goes to the basket to score during Friday's win at Humphrey Coliseum. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The 24th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs are getting contributions from unexpected sources when it's needed the most.
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With Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney sitting for the second-straight game due to injuries, DeVille Smith and Wendell Lewis provided the help MSU was looking for in a 76-50 victory over the UT Martin Skyhawks.
Smith scored a career-high 15 points, while Wendell Lewis got his first career double-double with 11 rebounds and a career-high 11 points as the Bulldogs improved their record to 6-1.
MSU senior guard Dee Bost, who tied for the MSU lead with 17 points, likes to see other players getting involved in the offense.
"It's always fun when you are winning," Bost said. "It's good to see them progressing, getting better and getting a lot of minutes."
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 35-24 halftime lead and out-scored the Skyhawks 41-26 in the second half to easily take the victory at Humphrey Coliseum.
With Arnett out with sore knees and Sidney continuing to be hampered with a wrist injury, MSU coach Rick Stansbury has been able to experiment with different lineup.
"That's going to help us along the way," Stansbury said. "They were able to play some minutes against different defenses and those guys will have confidence now. When we get Arnett and Sidney in there with them, all of those guys will be better too."
Lewis said he might have another double-double in him before the end of the season, but he's not going to be worried about it if he doesn't.
"I just try to go out there, have fun and play ball," Lewis said. "I try not to put pressure on myself. I just want to do what I have to do to help team out to win."
Lewis had two baskets and a free throw for the BUlldogs in the second half to stretch a 41-31 lead to 46-31 with 16:46 left in the game.
That seemed to ignite the MSU offense as it expanded the lead to 50-33 by the 14:17 mark that prompted a UT Martin timeout.
A dunk by Smith with 3:02 remaining put the Bulldogs comfortably ahead 74-44.
Bost likes what he's beginning to see from Smith, a freshman from Jackson.
"The more he plays, the better he'll get," Bost said. "You saw flashes of what he could do in New York and flashes tonight. As long as he keeps working hard and getting better, you will see."
Bost scored 11 of his points as MSU built its first-half lead. The Bulldogs shot 51.7 percent from the field (15-of-29) in the first half and 59.3 percent (32-of-54) for the game.
Now with 1,238 career points, Bost passed Erick Dampier for 20th on MSU's all-time scoring list.
"Dee is going to compete every night," Stansbury said. "His steadiness is important."
Hood joined Bost with a team-high of 17 points for the Bulldogs.
MSU returns home Sunday to take on North Texas in a 1:30 p.m. tipoff.