STARKVILLE, Miss. — Freshman Abdul Ado recorded his first double-double on Monday and led Mississippi State to a 77-68 win over Green Bay.
Ado had 12 points and 11 rebounds and the Bulldogs improved to 3-0. It is the best start for Mississippi State since starting 5-0 in the 2014-15 season. Lamar Peters had a game-high 18 points for Mississippi State while Aric Holman and Nick Weatherspoon had 13 and 10, respectively.
“After the first game we played, my nervousness went away,” said Ado. “I talked to my teammates about it and they told me to just focus on the next game. That is all I try to do and I take it very serious every day in practice. I am trying to do whatever I can to help my team win.”
Khalil Small and TJ Parham each had 15 points to lead Green Bay (1-2). Kameron Hankerson also finished in double digits for the Phoenix and had 10 points.
Mississippi State made eight of its first 12 shots and stormed out to a 20-5 lead in the game’s first seven minutes. Ado scored seven of his eight first-half points during the run. Green Bay cut into the deficit and trailed 40-32 at halftime, thanks to TJ Parham’s 3 pointer before the buzzer.
Mississippi State shot 47.1 percent in the first half but the Bulldogs were just 2 of 15 on 3 pointers. Green Bay shot 36 percent in the opening half and made 42.9 percent beyond the arc.
Ado was 4 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 at the foul line. He also blocked two shots and got a steal.
“We beat a good team tonight and that was a tough, hard-nosed team,” said Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland. “We built a solid lead but they never quit. We got off to a great start in the first half with Ado being a force inside, offensively. I thought Ado was very good offensively in that first half and was good defensively all of the time.”
The Phoenix closed to 55-51 with 11 minutes left in the second half following a pair of free throws by Parham. But back-to-back buckets by Ado and Holman pushed the lead to 59-51 and Green Bay never got any closer than seven the rest of the way.
Peters and Quinndary Weatherspoon each had four assists while Peters had three steals. Peters was 1 of 7 beyond the arc but made 5 of 6 at the free throw line.
Mississippi State out-rebounded the Phoenix 39-36 and Ado had six of the Bulldogs’ 11 offensive rebounds.
Mississippi State shot 46 percent for the game but made 3 of 23 on 3 pointers. The Phoenix shot 38.9 percent from the field and had 19 turnovers. The Bulldogs hit 76.2 percent of their free throws while the Phoenix made 70.8 percent.
Mississippi State: In his first two college games, freshman center Abdul Ado has averaged 12 points and 9.5 rebounds. Ado redshirted last year because of academics. He missed the Bulldogs’ season opener with a quad injury but has started the past two games.
Green Bay: The Phoenix have finished in the top half of the Horizon League in five straight seasons but have struggled in non-conference road meetings against Power 5 schools. Green Bay is 1-7 in road games at Power 5 programs since 2014. The lone win in that stretch was at No. 15 Miami in December of 2014.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are back in action on Wednesday night, playing host to Stephen F. Austin to conclude a stretch of three games in five days.
Green Bay: The Phoenix returns home Friday to host Florida A&M.