STARKVILLE — Mississippi State’s second-leading scorer, Lamar Peters, finished the Bulldogs’ final non-conference game with zero points. He missed all three 3-pointers he took and the Bulldogs around him weren’t that much better, ending at a December-low 33.3 percent.
Yet, for the first time in 364 days, MSU scored 100 points.
No. 19 MSU won’t have to win this way often. Peters is in the top 15 in the Southeastern Conference in scoring and MSU entered Saturday top 50 nationally in 3-point shooting percentage. Even in those rare absences, MSU can always lean on Quinndary Weatherspoon.
The senior guard once again did it all for the Bulldogs in Saturday’s 103-81 win over BYU with 27 points.
Granted, Weatherspoon was not alone. Senior forward Aric Holman had a game-high 28 points, Starkville native Tyson Carter added 16 and MSU got 11 each from freshman forward Reggie Perry and Quinndary’s brother Nick. The way Quinndary Weatherspoon did it is what MSU can count on going forward.
Quinndary Weatherspoon was efficient. He was 9-for-13 from the floor, made all seven of his free throws and both of his 3-point shots.
As he ruthlessly attacked the rim, he got BYU (8-7) in foul trouble: two Cougars fouled out and two more finished the game with three fouls.
All told, seven of his nine made field goals came in the lane.
“They didn’t have a lot of shot blockers so I just wanted to come out and attack the rim,” Quinndary Weatherspoon said. “As soon as the game started. I had a talk with (assistant coach) Korey (McCray), he told me to look down and see they don’t have any shot blockers, so go down there and attack it, and I did it.”
Over time, BYU did everything it could to stop it. He adjusted, resorting to a fadeaway late in the first half; he later got a layup by recovering the ball after his own dunk attempt got blocked. He also finished in transition, taking an acrobatic steal and pass from Nick Weatherspoon to the basket as part of a crucial 10-0 run in the first half.
In the second half, a cut from the top of the key into the middle of the lane earned him a pass from Abdul Ado into yet another made layup and an ensuing free throw. The sequence put MSU up 24 with fewer than 10 minutes to play.
“That’s who he is. He is really good around the rim, you’re right, in transition and in the halfcourt,” MSU coach Ben Howland.
The production moved him to eighth in school history with 1,607 points, passing Barry Stewart, and now just 12 points behind Darryl Wilson in 7th. Still, Quinndary Weatherspoon didn’t need to score to impact the game.
His five rebounds were right on his season average, but two of them were offensive, no small contribution as MSU gashed the Cougars with 13 offensive rebounds and 29 second-chance points. He tallied three assists, did not turn the ball over and added a block.
Earlier this season, Howland wondered aloud if he should give Quinndary Weatherspoon an extra break or two in games, cutting his minutes a little in order to ensure full-effort Quinndary Weatherspoon is available when needed. MSU still got that version of him through 33 minutes against BYU and having played at least 30 minutes in each of the last seven games.
“He’s in pretty good condition,” Howland said. “A very nice line and he played good defense on (BYU guard TJ Haws). Haws is a tough matchup and he was only 4-for-15 today. We did a good job on him collectively, Nick had him some, too.”
The Bulldogs came away from Saturday’s win most pleased with themselves as a total package, in that they can win a game convincingly without a single point from their best NBA prospect (Peters). MSU can turn to every other player for contributions far too much for respectable opponents to match.
Quinndary Weatherspoon also showed he can be all of those contributions at once. He thinks he’s surrounded by more players with the same potential.
“We have a good group of guys that can play together and that’s what we’re trying to do to get these wins,” he said.
MSU will enter Southeatern Conference play with a 12-1 overall record and nine straight wins.
The Bulldogs open league play at South Carolina on Jan. 8 and are back home Jan. 12 for Ole Miss.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson