After slow start, Mississippi State pulls away from Northwestern

Josh Hubbard scored 29 points and Mississippi State pulled away from Northwestern for a 66-57 victory in the championship game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Sunday afternoon in Uncasville, Conn. Hubbard made 9 of 14 field-goal attempts, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range and all seven of his free-throw attempts. Dashawn Davis added 11 points for the Bulldogs (5-0), who trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but used their defense to gradually take control.

Mississippi State shot 46.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range. Northwestern (4-1) shot 37.7 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from distance. The Bulldogs also made 12 free throws to five for the Wildcats.

Ty Berry scored 14 points and Ryan Langborg and Brooks Barnhizer added 13 each to lead Northwestern, whose bench was outscored by the Bulldogs bench 42-8. Northwestern led 29-27 at halftime and the lead changed hands six times early in the second half. MSU’s Cameron Matthews made a layup with 6:45 remaining to produce the final lead change and start a 9-0 run that gave the Bulldogs a 56-48 advantage. Berry made one of two free throws to end the run before MSU pushed the lead to 10 points at 61-51 with 3:48 remaining. Hubbard scored four consecutive points to help the Bulldogs push the lead to 66-53 with 1:59 remaining. Northwestern, which grabbed a 22-2 lead in its 72-61 victory over Rhode Island in the semifinals on Saturday, scored the first 11 points Sunday as Langborg, Berry and Boo Buie all made 3-pointers. Hubbard made a basket to end MSU’s drought, but the Wildcats increased their lead to 15-2. Davis made two 3-pointers, Hubbard made one and the Bulldogs closed within five points, but Northwestern took a 24-16 lead midway through the first half. Hubbard scored 13 points during a 21-12 finishing run that pulled MSU to withing two points at the half.