Providence 73, Mississippi State 63: Kadeem Batts scored a career-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting and hauled in eight rebounds as the host Friars held off a late Bulldogs run in the SEC/Big East Challenge.
Mississippi State, which trailed by as much as 24, rattled off an 18-4 run in the final minutes as a 3-pointer from Fred Thomas pulled the Bulldogs within 68-63 with 51 seconds left. Batts and LaDontae Henton both hit a pair of free throws to seal the Providence victory.
Henton scored 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting and added five rebounds for the Friars (6-2). Wendell Lewis led Mississippi State (2-5) with 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.
Providence knocked down six of its first seven shots, running out to a 13-1 lead 4:40 into regulation. A three-point play from Batts capped an 8-0 Friars run as the lead ballooned to 26-10 with 8:42 left in the first half.
After taking a 39-21 edge into halftime, Providence increased its cushion to 59-35 with 11:02 left on a jumper by Batts before Mississippi State pulled within five in the final minute.
GAME NOTEBOOK: This was the first meeting between the two programs. … Providence assisted on 18 of 25 made baskets. … The Friars improved to 5-0 at home this season.