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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) — Offensive struggles returned for Mississippi State as it shot 17.5 percent from the field and went close to 11 minutes without its first field goal Saturday in a 72-31 loss to Vanderbilt.

(AP Photo)
Junior Tyson Cunningham goes up for a shot in Mississippi State’s home loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday.

The Bulldogs saw their losing streak reach to 12 games. MSU is now 7-19 overall and 2-2 in league play, while Vanderbilt improves to 11-15, 5-9.

“It all starts with making shots,” MSU coach Rick Ray said. “This is the second time in a game this season where we shot 18 percent from the field. You can’t do that and remain competitive in games.

“The other teams are completely taking Gavin Ware away and asking us to make jump shots. Right now, we aren’t able to do that.”

MSU managed only six free throws until a layup by Trivante Bloodman with 9:05 left in the opening half. Vanderbilt stretched an early 5-2 lead with 10 straight points. The Commodores led 23-8 after Bloodman’s driving dash to the goal.

The Bulldogs made only 4-of-22 first-half field goal attempts and were 0-of-11 from 3-point range in the opening half. MSU compounded its problems by having a serious struggle on the defensive glass.

Vanderbilt finished the contest with a 51-17 rebounding advantage. The Commodores had 20 offensive rebounds, including five from Sheldon Jeter. VU also got 13 total rebounds from Dai-Jon Parker.

“When you aren’t making shots you have to get rebounds,” Ray said. “Our inability to get rebounds is rather perplexing. We really had a struggle keeping them out of the lane and winning the fights for 50-50 balls.”

Vanderbilt rode the momentum of the fast start into a 37-17 halftime lead.

The Commodores kept plowing away in the second half as a 3-pointer by Kevin Bright capped a 10-0 run and pushed his team to a 51-20 advantage with 14:38 left in the contest.

While MSU only managed seven field goals in the contest, Vanderbilt finished with 11 3-point baskets.

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 7 of 40 shots from the field (17.5 percent), 2 of 19 shots from 3-point range (10.5 percent) and 15 of 18 shots from the foul line (83.3 percent). The Commodores hit 28 of 61 shots from the field (45.9 percent), 11 of 31 shots from 3-point range (35.5 percent) and 5 of 7 shots from the foul line (71.4 percent).

Vanderbilt held a 51-17 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had four assists and 11 turnovers, while the Commodores had 19 assists and 13 turnovers.

Bright finished with 15 points for Vanderbilt, while Rod Odom added 13 points and Jeter added 11 points.

Jalen Steele finished with a game-high nine points for MSU.

MSU travels to Lexington for Wednesday night contest at Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. The SEC Network will have a regional telecast.

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