Bulldogs hope to get back on line during tonight's trip into Aggie land
Mississippi State guard Craig Sword (32) looks to score against the defense of Texas A&M's Tavario Miller during the first meeting between the two teams in Starkville on Jan. 18. (Photo by Rogelio V. Solis, AP)
The Mississippi State men's basketball team has lived and died at the free-throw line this season.
During a three-game losing streak, the Bulldogs have suffered the effects of the latter.
In losses to Ole Miss, Florida and Vanderbilt, MSU has shot only 26 shots from the charity stripe and made just 11 of those.
The Bulldogs shot 117 free throws and knocked down 79 of those shots in three home wins in the Southeastern Conference over the Rebels, Texas A&M and Auburn.
During the three-game losing streak, teams have played a good bit of zone defense, closing up driving lanes and allowing MSU to get in the paint and get fouled.
"Teams are just playing us zone," MSU head coach Rick Ray said. "I've never seen so much zone in my life and my career. What we have to do is find a way to get people out of the zone by knocking down some shots. What we can't do is we can't settle. When people play a zone, we settle for shots. We need to continue to probe and do what we are which is attack the zone. I still think we have some driving lanes in the zone and we have to do a better job as a coaching staff of exposing those driving lanes."
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