ITTA BENA, Miss. -- Christian Williams scored 44 points, the most by a Southwestern Athletic Conference player this season, to lead Jackson State to its third consecutive victory, 90-71 over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday night.
Williams made 13 of 16 shots for the Tigers (8-16, 7-8), including 7 of 8 from 3-point range, and was also perfect on 11 free throws. The senior guard, whose previous career high was 31 points, was averaging 11.7 this season.
He had 29 points in 16 minutes in the first half, and his 10-of-11 shooting in the half helped Jackson State open a 46-38 lead while shooting 72.7 percent (16 of 22).
Jackson State pulled away with free throws in the second half, making 19 of 24 (79.2 percent) to 5 of 9 (55.6 percent) for the Delta Devils (4-22, 4-12).
Mississippi State freshman guard Malik Newman will withdraw from the NBA draft, but sources told ESPN he might explore other opportunities besides returning to Mississippi State.
Seton Hall sophomore Isaiah Whitehead will stay in the NBA draft and not return for his junior season.
Washington State's trio of Josh Hawkinson, Conor Clifford and Ike Iroegbu have withdrawn from the NBA draft and will play their senior season with the Cougars.