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SMITH COLUMN: Moultrie shows his former coach what he can do

February 5, 2012

Auburn men's basketball coach Tony Barbee got to see Arnett Moultrie at his best Saturday afternoon.

Even though Moultrie played for Barbee for two years at the University of Texas-El Paso, he probably never saw him play like he did for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Moultrie didn't have his usual good rebounding game against Auburn with only seven, but he led MSU with 21 points and helped the Bulldogs to a 91-88 victory over the Tigers at Humphrey Coliseum.

The win helped MSU remain in the middle of the pack of the Southeastern Conference standings with a record of 5-3.

Where would the Bulldogs be in the league without the services of Moultrie?

It does take more than one person to make a a team, but Moultrie does so much so it's hard to imagine MSU having success with him not being out there.

After the Auburn game, Moultrie averages 17 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs. Again, nothing like Barbee saw at UTEP.

Moultrie averaged 8.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Miners in 2008-09 and 9.8 points and 6.7 boards per outing in 2009-10.

When it came to going against his old coach, Moultrie tried to downplay the significance after the game.

"It's not about me and him," Moultrie said. "It was about Auburn against Mississippi State."

Moultrie had some help against Auburn. He was one of five MSU players to score in double figures.

Joining Moultrie were Renardo Sidney with 17 points, Dee Bost with 15 points, Jalen Steele with 13 points and Rodney Hood with 11 points.

The Bulldogs are tough when they get that type of balance offensively.

"We got it going different ways," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "Dee got it going. Jalen got it going. Arnett got in foul trouble, but still did some things around the rim and Sid (Sidney) got some things done."

The Bulldogs also got some unexpected minutes from Shaun Smith (7 minutes) and Roquez Johnson (1 minute), two players who have contributed very little if anything before now.

"Those are important (minutes) for our team somewhere," Stansbury said. "We don't have a lot of bodies so as long as we can get some of that, it's good."

Mississippi State continues a pattern of winning close SEC decisions at home. The Bulldogs defeated Tennessee 62-58, Alabama 56-52, LSU 76-71 and now Auburn.

It would be nice to see the Bulldogs make it a little easier for themselves with Ole Miss coming in Thursday and Georgia next Saturday.

Of course, the win-loss column doesn't take in account style points so as long as the victories keep coming for MSU, it doesn't matter how it looks.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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