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Hood helps Bulldogs down Owls

Dec 14, 2011 - 6:42 AM Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Rodney Hood notched his first career double- double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, as No. 17 Mississippi State earned a hard-fought, 75-68 victory over Florida Atlantic.

Dee Bost poured in 22 points to pace the Bulldogs (10-1), who have won nine straight and are off to their best start since beginning the 2003-04 season 13-0.

"This was one of those games where you have to find a way to survive and that's what we did," said Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury.

Jalen Steele and Renardo Sidney chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the win.

Raymond Taylor scored 20 points in defeat, while Pablo Bertone added 14 points and Kore White had 12 for the Owls (4-6), losers of three of their last four.

The result proved a measure of revenge for the Bulldogs, who fell to the Owls, 61-59, last season in the first-ever meeting between the teams.

But evening the score did not prove an easy task.

Mississippi State sported a 39-29 advantage at the break, but the Owls rallied, grabbing a 55-54 lead -- their first of the game -- on Bertone's three-pointer midway through the second half.

Taylor's trey had FAU on top, 60-58, with 6:51 remaining, but the Bulldogs scored the game's next five points to grab a 63-60 advantage -- one they would not relinquish.

Bost started the mini-run, taking a pass from Hood and burying a three- pointer. Wendell Lewis followed with an emphatic put-back dunk.

With 1:22 left, Taylor buried a three-pointer, cutting the Owls' deficit to 69-67, but Bost isolated his man on the other end and nailed a penetration layup with 46 seconds remaining.

Steele and Bost both hit a pair of free throws in the waning moments to preserve the Bulldogs' win streak.

In all, Mississippi State knocked down 17-of-22 shots from the charity stripe, compared to just 7-of-18 for FAU.

"Free throws cost us the game," said Owls coach Mike Jarvis. "We make them in practice, but when we had to make them in the game, we didn't. There are no excuses."

Game Notes

During their current win streak, the Bulldogs have held all nine of their opponents to 68 points or less...Bost had three assists. He now needs just 16 to break the school record of 514, currently held by Derrick Zimmerman.