Providence, RI (Sports Network) - Led by Kadeem Batts with a career-high 32 points, the Providence Friars downed the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 73-63, at the Dunkin' Donuts Center as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge.
For the Friars (6-2), LaDontae Henton added 18 points and Josh Fortune dished out seven assists..
Wendell Lewis posted double-double for the Bulldogs (2-5) with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Fred Thomas finished with 12 points and Roquez Johnson chipped in with 10 points
Providence shot the ball well to open the contest, connecting on 50 percent of its field goal attempts, as the Friars took a commanding lead at halftime, 39-21. Mississippi State struggled with its shooting, making just 19.2 percent from the field and missing every one of its 13 3-point attempts.
After the break, the Bulldogs finally were able to find the basket, hitting on 47.4 percent from the field, but still had trouble from long range, making only 2-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc. The Friars cooled off somewhat in the second half, making 41.7 percent of their field goal attempts and going 0-of-5 from 3-point range. After leading by as many as 26 points in the second half, Providence saw its lead cut to just six, 66-60, with 58 seconds remaining, but the Friars made 7-of-8 free-throws in the final minute to hold on for the victory.
The teams combined to shoot just 4-of-34 from 3-point distance. The Bulldogs had a slight edge on points in the paint, 38-34.