STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Brad Boyd enjoyed his first visit to Humphrey Coliseum.
Boyd sank an arena-record nine 3-pointers en route to a career-high 33 points to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 79-76 upset over No. 13 Mississippi State in the season opener for both teams.
Boyd averaged just 7.4 points while leading the Ragin Cajuns in assists last season. But he became the team's most lethal shooter on Saturday, making 9-of-18 3-pointers and 12-of-24 shots overall.
"When you have a guy shooting the ball from 40 feet out, there's not a lot you can do," Mississippi State guard Derrick Zimmerman said. "It's not like we weren't there to contest shots. Boyd got going early and got his confidence going and he just had a great night."
The teams traded the lead eight times in the second half before Derrick Zimmerman buried two free throws for the Bulldogs to forge a 71-71 tie with 2:45 to go.
But Boyd responded with a 3-pointer with 72 seconds left to give the Ragin Cajuns the lead for good.
Chris Cameron made 1-of-2 free throws and Anthony Johnson, who scored 24 points, made a pair jumpers as Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0) won for just the fourth time in 15 meetings with Mississippi State.
The Ragin Cajuns shot 50 percent (14-of-28) in the second half, including 9-of-14 from 3-point range.
"Give Lafayette a lot of credit," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "That's about as good of a single game shooting as I've ever seen from Boyd. We had no answer for Boyd and Johnson."
Timmy Bowers scored 22 points and Zimmerman finished with a career-high 18 for the Bulldogs (0-1), who had won 14 of their previous 16 season openers.
Mississippi State was forced to play without junior forward Mario Austin, who may be declared ineligible this season. Lincoln Smith started and had just two points while the crowd at Humphrey Coliseum chanted "Free Mario."
"I'm not going to make any excuses about Mario," Stansbury said. "We prepared without Mario and we'll still prepare without Mario."
"It's not about someone trying to be Mario," Bulldogs forward Branden Vincent said. "It's about someone just trying to fill the gap. We've got to pick up our intensity from whatever level we're on to fill any gaps we may have out there on the court."
The Bulldogs, who had just one home loss last season, fell to 25-3 in non-conference home games under Stansbury.