The Mississippi State Bulldogs return to the friendly confines of Humphrey Coliseum today after dropping a heart-breaking 54-52 decision to Baylor on Wednesday night.
The No. 14 Bulldogs look close out the pre-conference slate against Utah State with a 2 p.m. tip.
“I would’ve liked to have won the game, but I’m not frustrated because we didn’t win because I know our guys played extremely hard,” said MSU coach Rick Stansbury. “Missing shots, turning the ball over; that’s part of the game some. Those are things you can get better at, and we know we have things to get better at in those areas.”
Without question, the outing against the Bears was the most challenging of the young season which leads to concern of a hangover of sorts heading into today’s game.
However, the MSU staff feels confident the leadership of this year’s team simply will not allow a lack for focus against the Aggies.
Utah State (8-5) is a much better basketball team than their record would indicate. The Aggies are a well-coached team that will play with discipline. They sport solid guards that can score from anywhere on the floor and that will require State’s full attention.
“They’ve been playing very well lately, and we’ll have to be at our best,” Stansbury said.
Preston Medlin leads the team in scoring from his two-guard position, averaging 14.3 points. He’s shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc and over 46 percent from the floor. He’ll be complimented by the play of senior point guard Brockeith Pane who adds 11.6 points on average.
The Aggies will rely on the duo to get the offense going. Typically as they go so goes the Aggies.
For the Bulldogs (12-2), they will simply look to continue to play the brand of basketball that led to the 11-game winning streak they saw snapped against Baylor.
MSU senior point guard Dee Bost is just three assists shy of setting the all-time assist record at the school. The record is currently held by former Bulldog great Derrick Zimmerman who played from 2000-03.
For the year, Bost is averaging 4.4 assists, the fourth-most in the Southeastern Conference. He’s also made an assist in 88-consecutive games and in 102 of the 103 games he’s played – all of which he started.
"It’s a record that means a lot to me,” the Concord, N.C., native said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I’ve been here. More than anything, we need a win.”
After Saturday, the Bulldogs are off for a week before opening SEC play at Arkansas on Jan. 7 in an 8 p.m. showdown on CSS.