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Bass has 26 points, 11 boards in win

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Brandon Bass understood his assignment
perfectly -- stop Mississippi State star Lawrence Roberts.

He managed that and more, scoring 26 points and grabbing 11
rebounds as LSU beat the Bulldogs (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 24 AP) 69-62 on Saturday.

"We played group defense and teamed up on Roberts pretty
good," Bass said. "I think that was the key to the game."

Bass and Glen Davis combined to limit Roberts -- the Southeastern
Conference's leading scorer and rebounder -- to 15 points and 12
boards. Roberts entered the game averaging 18.8 points a game, but
managed just 3-of-11 shooting.

"They doubled me a lot," Roberts said of LSU's defensive
strategy. "They doubled me early and doubled me often."

Mississippi State (16-5, 4-3), which once had the nation's
longest road winning streak at 16 straight, has now lost three
straight away from home.

Darrel Mitchell scored 20 points for LSU, while Bass added five
blocks.

"We went out to shut Roberts down and our big guys shut him
down," Mitchell said. "Everyone says Roberts is the best big man
in the league and should get the MVP. Well, Brandon took it to him
and showed he's one of the best big men in the league too."

Walter Sharpe scored 12 points for Mississippi State and Gary
Ervin had 10.

Mississippi State outscored LSU 40-24 in the paint, but only hit
2 of 10 from 3-point range.

"You can't go on the road and grind it out in the paint all
night," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansburry said. "You've got
to make some from the perimeter."

LSU (11-6, 4-2) took the lead early in the second half and never
trailed again. Mississippi State opened the half with two
uncontested baskets, then went cold as the Tigers used an 11-0 run
to take a 43-34 lead with 16:31 left.

The Tigers went up 50-40 on a three-point play by Antonio Hudson
with 12:37 to go.

A four-minute drought for LSU let the Bulldogs pull within three
with a 9-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Shane Powers.

Consecutive buckets by Bass slowed down the Bulldogs' surge and
gave LSU a 60-53 lead with 5:16 left.

But with Davis on the bench with four fouls, LSU struggled under
the basket where the 6-foot-9, 310-pound freshman had helped
contain the Bulldogs and Roberts.

"Davis is a big guy," Sharpe said. "His size gives him a real
advantage on offense and defense."

Mississippi State outscored LSU 8-2 to pull within one -- 60-59
with 2:46 remaining -- before Davis returned to the game.

A basket by Bass and a 3-pointer by Mitchell gave the Tigers a
65-61 lead with a minute remaining.

Mississippi State was forced to foul and Bass and Mitchell -- who
finished 5-for-5 from the line -- hit four straight free throws.

The Bulldogs rank first in the SEC and fourth nationally in
rebound margin at plus 9.7 per game. Mississippi State has
outrebounded 16 of 20 opponents this season, nine by 10 or more and
five by 20 or more, but barely edged the Tigers 35-33.