MSU point guard Dee Bost goes up for a dunk Tuesday night. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs didn't like the fact that they lost to the top-ranked team in the country Tuesday night, but did take something from the experience.
Although Mississippi State dropped a 73-64 decision, the Bulldogs gained a little confidence.
"Proud of our team (with) the effort they played with," MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. "They battled and that's all you can ask."
The effort showed the Bulldogs that they can play with a top-ranked team in a big game.
"We can play with anybody any night," MSU senior point guard Dee Bost said. "We just have to be more consistent. We have to play well every night."
Bost scored 21 points with 16 of those coming in the first half. In the past two games, he had scored only 26 points. Both were losses on the road to LSU and Auburn.
In four games against ranked opponents this season, Bost has averaged 12.3 points per outing. It was clear he was wanting to improve that number against the Big Blue nation.
Bost passed Jamont Gordon for eighth on Mississippi State's all-time scoring list with 1,567 points.
Bost along with his teammates seemed to give everything they had in the game, but Kentucky's talent seemed to be the difference.
"They played with their hearts," Stansbury said. "There wasn't an ounce of energy left when they came back into the locker room."
Sophomore Jalen Steele only scored five points the stretch with against LSU and Auburn, all coming against Auburn. He scored 13 points against the Wildcats.
Junior Arnett Moultrie also totaled 26 points in losses to LSU and Auburn. He scored 13 points, but more than that got easy buckets and some big slam dunks that looked to boost his confidence through the roof. He also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Bost knows that this confidence can help them down the road, but Saturday they travel to Alabama. He knows the focus has to be back and they cannot dwell on this game.
"We can't keep our heads down," Bost said.
If the play of the players does not boost their confidence, maybe Kentucky head coach John Calipari's post-game message to the Bulldogs can.
"That's a heck of a ball team," he said. "They are a terrific team. They just have to get on track and win a couple of games and they will be fine."
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