Brandan Kearney already has a career high and is showing the kind of outside touch MSU is missing without Gary Harris and Travis Trice.
The sophomore guard hit a deep jumper from the corner, then added a pair of 3-pointers for eight points as MSU scrapped and clawed to a 33-27 halftime lead over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Louisiana got a huge boost early from 6-9 freshman forward Shawn Long, a Mississippi State transfer who showed early that he could hit from deep and then used that to free up the paint to drive. He had all 14 of his points by the midpoint of the half, including a free throw that gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a 21-17 lead with about 9 1/2 minutes left.
But Russell Byrd answered with a 3-pointer, then Kearney hit one that gave MSU its first lead of the game at 23-21.
Keith Appling has seven points and Derrick Nix six for MSU.