STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Mississippi State's preseason Player of the Year candidate Lawrence Roberts saved his best performance for the home fans.
Roberts posted the first triple-double in school history and the 14th-ranked Bulldogs' scored 61 points in the second half in a 98-69 rout of Nicholls State in the home opener.
"I didn't even know at first," Roberts said of the triple-double. "I was just excited because it shows that we went out there and played as a team and went out there and played hard."
One of five players to score in double figures, Roberts totaled 18 points on 5-of-12 shooting, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
"I think we are coming along good," Roberts said. "It's a long process and I think we are moving pretty fast. We've got some good guys coming off the bench and contributing."
Despite missing the first two games with a broken nose, the senior forward is leading Mississippi State (4-1) with 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Wearing a protective mask over his face, he struggled in his first two games back, shooting 8-for-27 against Syracuse and St. Mary's in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden.
"I'm just off a little bit as far as getting in a rhythm goes," Roberts said. "It's always in the back of my mind that my nose is very sensitive. I'm just trying to protect it so I can get the mask off."
Apparently fatigued from playing twice in the previous three days, Mississippi State struggled in the first half, shooting just 37 percent (13-of-35) en route to a 37-29 lead at halftime.
"I was a little bit concerned just how much energy and emotion that we would be able to come out and play with considering the travel schedule," Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury said. "I didn't think we were at our best. In the first half we had a whole lot of open shots we just missed. If you make those shots, it gives you some energy and gets you going."
Winsome Frazier scored 13 points and Jamall Edmondson and Ontario Harper each chipped in 12 for the Bulldogs, who shot 51.5 percent (35-of-68) while improving to 6-1 in home openers under Stansbury.
"It's real good to have somebody like that who can force so many double teams," Harper said of Roberts. "That gets players like me, Shane and Winsome good shots, and we just have to knock them down."
Mississippi State hit 15-of-21 from the arc. Shane Power had three 3-pointers and Edmondson hit four.
Stefan Blaszynski scored 21 points and made five 3-pointers for Nicholls State. Shawn King scored 13 and Jason Wilkins had eight of his 10 in the second half for the Colonels (0-1), who have lost 19 of their last 20 games extending back to last season.
"Mississippi State is pretty good," Nicholls State coach J.P. Piper said. "I am real proud of our guys. They competed real hard today. I didn't ask them to win the game. I asked them to show me that you can believe you can win and compete and play hard. I thought they did that.