As shot after shot clanged off the rim, merely getting on the scoreboard proved to be a challenge for the Spartans early.
The No. 19 MSU men’s basketball team (6-2) opened the game by making only two of its first 10 shots, both coming off offensive rebounds, as the Spartans slogged through a lethargic first five minutes.
Yet as mightily as the Spartans struggled to execute offensively, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6) was worse.
MSU overpowered Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the first half, heading into halftime in front, 38-12.
It took the Golden Lions nearly 10 minutes to make their first basket, missing their first 14 shots, allowing MSU to gain an early 14-point lead as part of a 30-4 surge to open the game.
The Spartans responded from their 2-for-10 shooting start by making 13 of their next 20 shots to build a sizable margin while Arkansas-Pine Bluff couldn’t find a rhythm.
It was a team effort for MSU in the opening 20 minutes, with four players scoring six points or more, led by freshman guard Gary Harris’ nine points.
Guards Travis Trice and Branden Dawson scored six points apiece, with Dawson adding four rebounds and junior center Adreian Payne added six points and a team-high seven rebounds off the bench.