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Bulldogs go back on the road

January 21, 2012

(Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The 18th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to ‘Music City’ tonight to face the Vanderbilt Commodores following a disappointing 75-68 loss to in-state rival Ole Miss.

Nashville, Tenn., was the site of the most recent football success for MSU after winning the Music City Bowl against Wake Forest in December.  

For the Bulldogs to pull off a Southeastern Conference win there in basketball against the Commodores, they’ll have to deal with Memorial Gymnasium, one of the more unique settings in college basketball. 

“There’s no question Vanderbilt is one of the more difficult places to play in the country,” said MSU coach Rick Stansbury, who is 10-8 all-time against the Commodores. “That setup makes it very difficult, but you know that going in. But more than the setup is the fact Vanderbilt is a very good team. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Vanderbilt enters the game carrying a 14-4 record and a perfect conference mark of 4-0.

The Commodores, who are also riding an eight-game win streak after opening the season 6-4, are coming off a complete dismantling of Alabama on Thursday night in a game that ended 69-59 but was truly never that close.

State fans remember all too well the performances from John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor in last season’s showdown in Starkville.

The duo remains red-hot as they are averaging 19.8 (tops in the SEC) and 16.9 points per game respectively. 

When you consider that Bulldogs Arnett Moultrie and Dee Bost are fourth and fifth in the league with 16.1 and 16.0 points per game, the game will feature four of the top five scorers in the conference. 

Moultrie also remains tied for the league lead with 10 double-doubles and remains atop all SEC rebounders with an 11 rebound average. 

“We just got to bounce back,” said Bost, who took the midweek loss hard. “We didn’t have one of our better games at Ole Miss, and now it’s time to redeem ourselves.”

The Bulldogs (15-4, 2-2) have dropped two-straight to Vanderbilt and three in a row in Memorial Gymnasium. Their last win there came in 2004 (72-69) after claiming a 66-43 in 2002.

The tip in Nashville is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2 with Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes handling the broadcast.

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