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Updated: Wednesday, February 25, 2004 11:51 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(7) Mississippi St 84, LSU 58

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Not even the return of Jaime Lloreda for Louisiana State could stop Lawrence Roberts and Mississippi State from clinching the Southeastern Conference's West Division.

Roberts scored 14 points to lead a balanced attack as the seventh-ranked Bulldogs put the finishing touches on their second straight West Division title with an 84-58 rout.

LSU (17-7, 7-6 SEC West) welcomed back Lloreda, the SEC's leading rebounder who missed the last game with lower leg problems. But the Tigers were outclassed by the SEC's best team and lost their third straight.

Mississippi State (22-2, 11-2), which had an eight-game winning streak snapped on Saturday against Alabama, bolted to a 15-3 lead. Timmy Bowers and Winsome Frazier each scored 10 points in the first half as the Bulldogs built a 46-30 halftime cushion and coasted.

"To win the West with three games to go is a big accomplishment," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "We are not cutting down the nets or over there (in the locker room) celebrating. This team has other accomplishments and goals they want to achieve."

The Bulldogs have won 19 of the last 24 matchups with the Tigers and swept the regular-season series for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign.

Bowers and Frazier each finished with 13 points and Shane Power chipped in 12 on 5-of-7 shooting. The Bulldogs shot 65.5 percent (19-of-29) in the first half and finished at 56 percent.

"We set the tone," Bowers said. "Everyone came out with a lot of energy. We got ahead and never looked back.

Lloreda collected 10 points, 12 rebounds and six turnovers, but looked sluggish at times. The Tigers shot 35 percent (19-of-54).

"He fumbled some balls, he didn't complete some plays around the goal," LSU coach John Brady said. "He almost looked out of sync a little bit. It was good for him to get back in the game."

LSU's guards had a rough night against the defensive pressure of Bowers and Frazier. Antonio Hudson and freshman Tack Minor combined to make 7-of-21 shots for 25 points.

"We looked more like us tonight," Stansbury said. "We had more energy and focus tonight against a very good LSU team."

Mississippi State received nine rebounds from Branden Vincent and held a commanding 42-26 cushion on the glass. The Bulldogs outscored the Tigers in the paint, 46-18.


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