Austin powers State at Big House

By By Jeff Byrd / sports editor
Dec. 19, 2002
JACKSON In his first game back in Mississippi, in a Mississippi State basketball uniform, junior forward Mario Austin thrilled a standing only crowd here at the Mississippi Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Austin powered the 16th ranked Bulldogs to a 78-54 rout of Georgia State. The 6-foot-9 post from York, Ala., scored a game-high 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as State improved to 7-1 on the season.
The contest was Austin's first back in the Magnolia State since coming off an NCAA-imposed suspension. Last Saturday, in his first game of the season, Austin scored 28 points against Xaiver in a 71-61 victory. He was later named the SEC Player of the Week.
Against Georgia State, Austin was at it again, dominating inside. He was 10-of-16 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Though the final margin was 24-points, it was not indicative of just how tough Georgia State played. With 10 minutes to go, the Bulldogs led by just eight points at 56-48.
Coach Rick Stansbury's team had built a 15-point lead following a three-point play by Branden Vincent that made it 56-41. Austin was on the bench catching a breather when the visiting Panthers went on 7-point run to get back into the game.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Lamont McIntosh made it an eight-point game at 56-48 with 10:23 to play. They had a shot to get it to six after Vincent missed a pair of free throws.
Austin re-entered at the 9:15 mark and quickly re-asserted things. He was able to grab an offensive rebound just four feet off the ground and with one hand, tossed it back at the goal. A foul was called and he went to the line for two shots. He made both.
Later, Austin put on an incredible reverse move in the paint to leave the Georgia State defender stunned in his tracks. Austin's shot just missed but the follow-up was there handing State a 62-48 lead with 7:36 left.
Georgia State, 3-4, did not recover after that. They would go scoreless for the next four-plus minutes extending a drought to over seven minutes since McIntosh's last three-pointer at the 10:23 mark.
By then State, was comfortably ahead 71-48.
Georgia State got a big lift off the bench from Patton, a transfer from the University of Alabama. Normally a 10-point per game scorer, Patton made four, three-pointers in the first half to help account for 17 points.
The Panthers held a lead for the game's first 3 1/2 minutes, the last coming at 9-6. State finally grabbed a 10-point lead at 32-22 with 6:39 left in the half.
Patton, though, got hot making two, three-pointers and all three foul shots in a three-shot foul to keep his team close. It was 43-37 at the break.
Austin made the first three shots of the second half for the Bulldogs to put State up 49-39. Then Ontario Harper and two free throws by Zimmerman made it 53-39 with 13:28 to play.
Timmy Bowers finished with 11 points. Winsom Frazier came off the bench to score eight as did Harper who also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Patton led Georgia State with 21 points. McIntosh had 12.

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