Molinar scores 28, MSU hands Georgia 5th loss in row 88-72

Published 7:54 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Iverson Molinar scored a career-high 28 points and Mississippi State quickly overtook Georgia in the second half, winning 88-72 on Wednesday night.

Molinar was 11-of-18 shooting with seven assists. Javian Davis produced 18 productive minutes off the bench with 12 points, a team-high six rebounds and three blocks. Cameron Matthews and Andersson Garica added 10 points each. Garrison Brooks had four of Mississippi State’s 10 blocks. Mississippi State (11-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) shot 53%.

Kario Oquendo scored a career-high 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting, Noah Baumann added 15 points and Jabri Abdur-Rahim 13 for Georgia (5-11, 0-3), which lost its fifth straight.

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After trailing by a point at halftime, Mississippi State built a 10-point lead over the first seven minutes of the second half. Abdur-Rahim scored seven consecutive points midway through the half to cut lead to three, but Mississippi State responded with a 17-5 run capped by Shakeel Moore’s 3-pointer to go up 15. A few minutes later, Molinar scored six straight points and the lead was 19.

Neither team led by more than six points in the first half when there were nine lead changes and four ties with Oquendo scoring 15 points, two over his per-game season average, and Molinar 11. Baumann’s layup with nine seconds left gave Georgia a 36-35 lead at the break.

Mississippi State was without 6-foot-11 forward Tolu Smith for a second straight game. Last year’s SEC rebounding leader, when he had eight double-doubles, has played in only five games this season because of injuries.

Georgia will be home against Vanderbilt, while Mississippi State is host to No. 24 Alabama on Saturday.