STARKVILLE - Mississippi State broke in a newly renovated Humphrey Coliseum in style on Saturday by beating UT Martin 87-63 in front of 7,525 in its home opener.
A crop of newcomers helped bolster the Bulldogs to 2-0 at both ends of the floor. Josh Hubbard, Trey Fort and Gai Chol all scored in double figures during their first action inside the Hump while Jimmy Bell Jr. finished with a dozen rebounds.
"We thought heading into the season that depth was going to be a positive for us this year with the recruits added to the guys that came back," said head coach Chris Jans. "And fortunately, it is. We're having to test it right away with some guys being out. But I always tell them that if they go into the game and can move the needle in a positive direction, we're going to find minutes for you. I love playing a bunch of guys...I love having the depth that we've assembled and it's helping us out already."
Hubbard paced MSU with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The freshman guard, who arrived as the all-time leading scorer in Mississippi high school history, caught fire from the perimeter hitting 5-of-8 beyond the arc.
"It was definitely special for my first time being in the Hump," Hubbard said.
Fort and Chol scored 11 points apiece. Chol combined with Bell's production to provide the Bulldogs with 18 points and 18 rebounds from the center position. Cameron Matthews added 12 points for a State squad that shot 40.9 percent from the field.
"This really wasn't a surprise to me with the way we get after it at practice," Matthews said.
The Bulldogs hit 13 3-poineters against UT Martin (1-1) and finished the contest shooting 33.3 percent from the outside. In addition to Hubbard, Fort (3), Dashawn Davis (2), D.J. Jeffries, Shawn Jones Jr. and Andrew Taylor all connected from long range.
"It sure is nice to have a few guys wearing the Maroon and White that can knock down an open shot," Jans said.
Mississippi State committed only nine turnovers on the evening and held the Skyhawks to just 33.3 percent shooting, including 3-of-25 from 3-point range. Only two UT Martin players were able to reach double figures in the scoring column.