STARKVILLE, Miss. — A career-high 24 points from Detrick Mostella led the Vols to their first road win of the season as they defeated Mississippi State, 80-75, on Saturday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi.
Mostella kept his run of solid performances going as he scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second-half. The sophomore guard from Decatur, Ala., also set a career best with five makes from long range.
UT posted a strong first-half performance and led, 38-27, at the break. After a back-and-forth first couple of minutes, the Vols rattled off a 13-0 run powered by back-to-back Devon Baulkman 3-pointers, to take an early 21-9 lead.
Kevin Punter Jr. also came out firing in the first 20 minutes, leading all scorers with 15 first-half points. Ranked 11th in the nation in scoring entering the contest, Punter extended his double-digit scoring streak to 15 straight games and finished the afternoon with 23 points.
As the Vols’ shooting cooled off, the Bulldogs were able put together a 10-2 run midway through the second half to cut the Tennessee lead to just two points with7:44 to play. However, the Big Orange used a balanced scoring attack and some clutch shots down the stretch to prevent Mississippi State from completing the rally.
For the ninth time this season, UT had four or more players score 10 plus points as Baulkman and Robert Hubbs III joined Punter and Mostella in double figures. Quinndary Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with a career-high 23 points.
Vols Earn First Road Win: Entering this afternoon’s game, Tennessee was 0-7 in games away from Thompson-Boling Arena, including an 0-4 record in road games. Today’s victory marks the Vols’ first win away from Knoxville since a 67-61 win over Vanderbilt in last season’s SEC Tournament. It is also their first true road win since March 4, 2015 when they beat LSU, 78-63, in Baton Rouge.
Mostella’s Career Day: Detrick Mostella set new a new career-high with 24 points, surpassing the 15 points he had against Texas A&M exactly one week ago. Mostella has now scored in double figures in seven of the Vols’ past eight games and is averaging 14 points per game in that span. The sophomore guard also knocked down a career-best five 3-pointers.
Vols Light It Up from Long Range: For the fifth time this season the Vols made double-digit 3-pointers as they knocked down 10 from beyond the arc this afternoon. Mostella led the way with a career-high five makes from downtown.
Punter Continues to Pour It On: With 23 points, senior guard Kevin Punter Jr. extended his streak of double-digit scoring efforts to 15 consecutive games and 16 total this season. Punter has now scored 20 or more points 12 times this season after failing to score 20 plus points once last year.
Besting the Bulldogs: With the win, UT won its fifth game in the last six contests against Mississippi State and its third in a row in Starkville. The Vols also improved to 3-3 against teams with Bulldog mascots this season.
Up Next: Tennessee heads back home to host Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The Vols have beaten the Commodores more than any other team in program history, racking up 116 victories all-time against their in-state rivals. UT defeated Vandy twice in three attempts last season, including a 67-61 win in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Wednesday’s game is slated for a 9:05 p.m. ET tip and will be televised on the SEC Network. As always fans can also listen to Bob Kesling (PxP) and Bert Bertelkamp (analyst) on the Vol Radio Network.