STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State's Craig Sword scored a game-high 16 points, including 15 in the first half, to lead the Bulldogs to a 78-65 victory over Florida A&M Tuesday night.
Sword paced four Bulldogs in double figures and finished the night 10-of-12 at the free throw line. Redshirt freshman Dre Applewhite had his first double-double with 14 points and 11 points for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State (7-2) finished just 5-7 last year in non-conference play.
Deandre Bullard had 14 points to lead the Rattlers (2-8) and was the lone FAMU player in double digits.
Mississippi State led 42-27 at halftime thanks to 52 percent shooting from the field. The Rattlers shot just 32 percent in the opening half and also had seven turnovers.
Mississippi State finished the game 33-of-45 at the free-throw line and shot 39 percent for the game. The free throw attempts and free throws made were both season highs for the Bulldogs. It was also the most free throw attempts and made free throws for Mississippi State since the 2000-2001 season
The Rattlers shot just 34 percent for the game but did knock down 8 of 21 beyond the arc.
The game was the first meeting between the two schools as MSU improved to 6-0 all-time versus teams from the MEAC.