Cameron Matthews and Josh Hubbard each scored 13 points to lift Mississippi State to a 76-64 win over Washington State on Saturday in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Uncasville, Conn.
Dashawn Davis added 12 points and Jimmy Bell Jr. had 11 for the Bulldogs (4-0), who will face the winner of a later contest between Northwestern and Rhode Island in the championship game Sunday.
The loser of that clash will face the Cougars (2-1) in the consolation game Sunday. Myles Rice scored 21 points, Joseph Yesufu had 15 and Isaac Jones 10 for Washington State.
Mississippi State’s bench outscored its counterparts 33-5. The Bulldogs outscored the Cougars 21-9 on free throws and 20-8 in points off turnovers.
Rice made a 3-pointer to help the Cougars cut the Bulldogs’ six-point halftime lead in half early in the second half.
Mississippi State scored the next seven points to increase the lead to 47-37.
The Cougars closed within four points twice before Bell scored four points and Jones five to help the Bulldogs rebuild the lead to 60-50.
Yesufu made a 3-pointer for WSU, but Gai Chol’s jumper and two free throws each by Davis and Matthews gave the Bulldogs a 68-55 lead with 4:26 remaining.
Rice answered with two baskets during a 6-0 run that got WSU within seven points with 2:41 left.
Hubbard made a 3-pointer and Yesufu responded with a 3-pointer that pulled the Cougars within seven again with 1:25 left, but they didn’t get any closer.
The score was tied three times and the lead changed hands eight times before Shakeel Moore scored five straight points to give MSU a 22-17 lead.
WSU scored the next six points to regain the lead before the Bulldogs scored six straight to take a 28-23 lead.
Rice’s layup tied the score at 30, but MSU scored the final six points to grab a 36-30 halftime lead.