CONWAY, S.C. (AP)Mississippi State only has to manage three more games without Nick Weatherspoon. The Bulldogs miss him, of course, but not nearly as badly as they could – thanks to Tyson Carter.
Carter had 19 points and 10 assists, and Mississippi State routed Coastal Carolina 81-56 on Sunday in the third-place game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
Reggie Perry added 16 points, freshman D.J. Stewart finished with 11 points and Robert Woodard II had 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs (6-1) bounced back from their loss to No. 17 Villanova by shooting 53% and hitting 44% of their 3-pointers.
Weatherspoon was suspended for 10 games for violating team rules last year, and he is due to return Dec. 22.
”I think I learned, especially after playing a really good Villanova team, three more games before we get Nick back, that we’re going to be a really good team,” coach Ben Howland said. ”We have a chance to be very, very good. … Adding Nick to the mix is going to make us even better.”
Mississippi State never trailed, needed just eight minutes to go up by double figures for good and used a late 17-5 run to push its lead into the 20s for good. Stewart hit 3s about 90 seconds apart to make it 64-41 with just under seven minutes to play.
Tommy Burton scored 13 points, and DeVante’ Jones and Tim Ceaser had 10 apiece for the Chanticleers (3-4) in their first game without key guard Ebrina Dibba. He suffered a serious knee injury early in the second half of the loss to No. 24 Baylor on Friday night in the semifinals, with coach Cliff Ellis saying he tore both his left anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments and said his hamstring ”is torn off the bone somewhat.”
Coastal Carolina, which entered shooting 41% from long range, finished with a season-low three 3s.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs’ perimeter players might not want to leave South Carolina. Mississippi State’s three best outings from 3-point range came in this tournament, making a season-best 55% of their 3s in the opener against Tulane and following that by hitting 36% in the loss to Villanova.
Coastal Carolina: With Dibba – one of the team’s five double-figure scorers – on crutches and sitting at the end of the bench, the Chanticleers barely looked like the group that routed Utah in their tournament opener and pushed Baylor for more than 30 minutes before fading. They rallied in the second half, pulling within 11 on Jones’ jumper with 11 1/2 minutes remaining, but couldn’t keep up.
”But you know what? We don’t have that team anymore” without Dibba, Ellis said. ”So our identity changes. . When we’ve been healthy, we’ve been pretty doggone good.”
Mississippi State: Plays host to Louisiana Tech on Dec. 5.
Coastal Carolina: Visits Delaware State on Saturday night.
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(This version corrects that Carter had 10 assists, not rebounds.)