STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Lawrence Roberts scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, leading No. 21 Mississippi State to a 66-52 victory over South Alabama.
The reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Roberts has been hampered early this season by a mask that he is wearing to protect a broken nose.
Roberts started slowly in this one before coming alive after intermission, when the Bulldogs (6-1) took control. His three-point play with 14:22 remaining capped a 16-4 run, giving Mississippi State a 49-33 cushion.
"We just buckled down and really tried to do a better job on the defensive end," said Roberts, who added 13 rebounds for his 41st career double-double. "We let a lot of drives come down the middle and we just wanted to stop that and do a better job on that end."
Shane Power netted 16 points and Winsome Frazier 12 for Mississippi State, which has won four straight since a loss to fifth-ranked Syracuse in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
After using their decisive run, the Bulldogs were in control the rest of the way. The Jaguars tried to make a late run and pulled within nine points with just under four minutes remaining.
Marion Jointer had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Jaguars (2-3), who shot just 34 percent (20-of-59) and committed 22 turnovers.
"I thought we competed very hard," South Alabama coach John Pelphrey said. "We played well for a long period of time, then we made some mistakes. The biggest thing is, when you turn the ball over 22 times against a team like this, it's hard to win."
Mississippi State shot 40 percent (23-of-57) but was able to improve to 9-0 all-time against South Alabama.
Stephen Cowherd, a Mississippi State transfer, made a layup with 67 seconds left in the first half to give South Alabama its last lead at 29-28. The Bulldogs scored the final five points before intermission.