NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Finally, Gary Ervin got a win at Madison Square Garden.
Ervin, a sophomore point guard, scored seven points in the first half and ran the team effectively as No. 14 Mississippi State defeated St. Mary's, 67-54, in the consolation game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
"I am very proud of how our team bounced back," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "It was a tough loss last night (to Syracuse). We got knocked down pretty good, but we responded against a St. Mary's, a team that will be in the NCAA Tournament."
Ervin, who played his high school ball at Robeson in New York, lost two high school title games at the Garden before falling to No. 6 Syracuse on Thursday.
"His pushing the ball was key," forward Lawrence Roberts said. "We got caught in a zone defense last night, which slowed us down, but he did a good job of pushing the ball and creating open shots."
Roberts, the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, scored 20 points for the Bulldogs (3-1), who are trying to win 20 games in four straight seasons for the first time in school history.
Playing with a mask to protect his nose broken in practice on November 4, Roberts shot 6-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the line. He also grabbed seven rebounds in 31 minutes.
"It's tough (playing with the broken nose)," Roberts said. "I've got to get used to it (mask). I've only had a couple of days to get used to it.
"We wanted to come out and stay focused and play hard. We lost our focus in the second half last night and we didn't want that to happen tonight."
E.J. Rowland scored 19 points for the Gaels (2-2).
"Mississippi State competes very hard on every possession and I felt that broke us down a little bit at the end of the first half," St. Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "We didn't adjust very well to the zone. That is my fault."