Mississippi State Bulldogs got "Zipped" Wednesday night.
In the second night of the Coaches vs. Cancer 2K Sports Classic, MSU was out-played by the Akron Zips, who handed State their first loss of the season with a 68-58 win at Humphrey Coliseum.
MSU head coach Rick Stansbury, as he often does, gave credit to the opponent, but also knew that his team didn't play very well.
"They were better than us in every area," Stansbury said. "We tried to get our guys to understand how good Akron was, and we were never able to get control of the game. Our guys were a step slower."
The Bulldogs didn't have their best night of shooting as they shot only 34.5 percent from the floor and an even worse 15.4 percent from the outside. The biggest positive on offense had to be making 72 percent of their free throws. Akron didn't shoot much better from the floor, but their 48.5 percent was enough to get the win.
"We were never able to going," said senior guard Dee Bost. "As a team, we never could get in sync and they are a very good defensive team. We were not making our shots and not taking the easy shots we needed."
MSU made numerous mistakes during the game, which the Zips capitalized on. One of those were the Bulldogs 19 turnovers. Even though Akron committed 15 turnovers of its own, the Zips were able to score in transition when the Bulldogs turned the ball over. One reason for Akron being able to score in transition was their hustle.
"I thought we were a step slower from the start of the game," said Stansbury. "We never got the zip that you have to play with that Akron had."
The Bulldogs didn't seem to be able to get anything going and Arnett Moultrie wasn't able to get several shots to fall while in the paint. Moultrie's misses could be attributed to Akron's 7 foot post player Zeke Marshall, who seemed to cause havoc on Moultrie and Renardo Sidney. Sidney was able to score a season-high 12 points, and Moultrie was held to eight points. MSU's duo was able to win the battle on the boards over Marshall, but his presence underneath was ominous.
"He bothered me a lot," said Moultrie. "I was worried about finishing over him and that's why I missed so many easy buckets. I just need to worry about trying to finish through with bigger defenders like that."
Moultrie's effort wasn't in question even though he was 2-for-13 in the game.
"I'll take that effort every night," said Stansbury. "Marshall had a lot to do with the missed shots. If everyone played as hard as Moultrie, then we would be fine."
Marshall caused the Moultrie and the Bulldogs some headaches, but he wasn't the only Akron player to do so.
Junior forward Quincy Diggs also caused havoc for the Bulldogs as he scored a game high 19 points. Diggs led the Zips to the win, but or him it was all about his teammates.
"We knew this was going to be a tough opponent," said Diggs. "We just had to play together and we knocked down our shots and we won."
MSU is putting Wednesday night's loss behind it, but the Bulldogs are learning from it.
"Our team chemistry needs to get better," said Bost. "We need to start making our shots and driving the ball. We need to get stronger defensively as a team."
MSU will get a couple days off before returning to action, but will host South Alabama this Saturday at 1 p.m.
"They (South Alabama) are a good team," said Stansbury. "We have to get ready after the quick turn around and focus on them."