STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Freshman Josh Hubbard scored 15 points, and No. 25 Mississippi State beat Nicholls 74-61 on Friday.

Cameron Matthews had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs (6-0). Jimmy Bell Jr., a West Virginia transfer, had 11 points and 10 rebounds in his second double-double of the season.

“You never know how it will unfold but I enjoy having balanced scoring,” Mississippi State coach Chris Jans said. “Obviously, I am not trying to hold anyone down but at the same time, it makes it so difficult to prepare against from a defensive scouting perspective. There’s multiple guys that can have big nights and you are not relying on one thing over and over to carry you, offensively."

Nicholls (3-4) was led by Jamal West Jr., who finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Byron Ireland had 10 points.

Mississippi State led 36-24 at halftime. Matthews and D.J. Jeffries each converted a layup and Bell connected on two foul shots to make it 44-26 early in the second half.

“Just going with what we do best,” said Matthews, who also had three assists and three steals. “Being tough and it starts with defense. When we get our defense into the game it also gets our athleticism into the game.”

Mississippi State shot 42.6% (26 for 61) from the field. Led by Bell, it had a 48-29 rebounding advantage.

Nicholls shot 39% (21 for 54), including 6 for 20 from 3-point range.


Nicholls: The Colonels continue a tough nonconference schedule next week with a trip to Baylor and still have Maryland on the schedule in December. Nicholls has two road nonconference wins over LSU and South Alabama.

Mississippi State: For the second straight season under Jans, the Bulldogs are off to a quick nonconference start. Mississippi State opened last season 11-0 and was ranked as high as No. 16 before SEC play began in Jans’ debut season with the Bulldogs.


Nicholls: Visits Baylor on Tuesday.

Mississippi State: Returns to action Tuesday at Georgia Tech in the SEC/ACC Challenge.

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