State men like where they stand after beating Missouri

MSU's Lamar Peters
Staff Writer

Mississippi State’s Lamar Peters isn’t one to be timid.

On the court or with the media, MSU’s freshman guard has an aggressiveness to him.

When playing on the hardwood, Peters isn’t scared to take the tough shot or try and squeeze a pass into a tight spot. With reporters, he’s also not afraid to give you his honest opinion.

That’s why on Saturday night, moments after Mississippi State defeated Missouri 74-62, Peters’ words were telling. He believes the Bulldogs’ win over the Tigers was a sign that MSU is improving and is on an upward trend.
“We’re way better than last year,” Peters said. “I’m sure we will win more than six (Southeastern Conference) games (like last year).”

It has been a season full of ups and downs so far for MSU. After starting the year 12-1 in the non-conference slate then defeating Arkansas in the league opener, the Bulldogs lost five or their next six SEC games.

Many of those defeats came in frustrating fashion as State found a tendency of building first half leads only to watch them slip away. It was the reverse at Alabama on Jan. 20 when MSU fell down by 20 and came back to tie the game, only to eventually lose anyway.

State felt more heartbreak last Tuesday when it went into Kentucky’s Rupp Arena and held a second half lead before fading down the stretch.

Then came Saturday. Finally, against Missouri, MSU gave itself and its fans a reminder that the Bulldogs have the talent to hang in this year’s ultra-competitive SEC.

There was no second-half letdown against the Tigers. Mississippi State put together an 11-0 run over the course of the end of the first half and beginning of the second half, took a lead and never trailed again.

“We came out and jumped on (Missouri) early in the second half and had momentum right from the get-go,” Howland said. “That was big. That was really good. That was growth as a team. After having some second halves where we haven’t come out like that, you see we’re learning from the past. That’s the key to being successful is learning from when you fail.”

MSU has the chance in the days ahead to keep proving it is an improving club. The schedule helps the Bulldogs’ cause.

Of State’s remaining 10 league games, only two (Alabama and Tennessee) come against opponents that currently have a winning record in conference play. Five come against teams that have the same or worse SEC record than MSU.

Couple that with how it appeared on Saturday that the Bulldogs might be starting to figure some things out and MSU might just have the recipe it needs to put together a strong final month or so of the season.

“We just have to keep working hard, keep getting better at practice and keep playing as one,” Peters said. “Everything will fall into place.”