PHILADELPHIA (AP)Tolu Smith had 26 points and eight rebounds, D.J. Jeffries added 15 points and Mississippi State beat Akron 73-54 on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.
Smith was 11 of 13 from the field and 4 of 6 at the stripe, nearly missing his career high of 27 points. Shakeel Moore had six points, six rebounds and four steals for Mississippi State (2-0), which was participating in the Barstool Invitational.
Mississippi State led 35-27 at halftime. Akron took a 39-38 lead after opening the second half on a 12-3 run, but the Bulldogs scored 21 of the next 26 points to go ahead by double-digits for good at 59-44.
Xavier Castaneda had 20 points and six assists for Akron (1-1). Enrique Freeman, the reigning MAC defensive play of the year, added nine points.
On Monday, Mississippi State overcame an early 12-point deficit en route to a 63-44 season-opening rout of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a NCAA Tournament team from a season ago. The Bulldogs face Arkansas-Pine Bluff for a Sunday
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