The No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs return to the friendly confines of the Humphrey Coliseum tonight as the Tigers of LSU come calling for the sixth Southeastern Conference tilt of the season.
State (16-4 overall, 3-2 SEC) is looking to continue its improved play after earning the 78-77 overtime road victory over Vanderbilt last Saturday. LSU (12-7, 2-3) on the other hand will be looking to bounce back following a 76-64 setback at the hands of the Florida Gators.
“Anytime you can win on the road it is special. It isn’t easy to do,” said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. “But like all games, it counts as one win. Don’t get too high, don’t get too low. It is a good accomplishment but it just counts as one win. We’ve got to just get ready for the next one. We've got a tough one (tonight) and another one on Saturday.”
The Tigers are looking for their first road win in the SEC and they’ll rely on a 7-footer in Justin Hamilton in their attempt to get it. For the season, Hamilton paces his team with 14.1 points per game while adding 7.5 rebounds.
“They are just as talented as anyone,” said Stansbury, who has won four out of the last five against the Tigers. “They have great post depth. Justin Hamilton is as good of a post player there is in this league. He went to Florida and scored 27. He is the one difference for their team. They can throw it in the paint or throw it to the short corners, and Hamilton can score in a lot of different ways.”
It’s not all low-post action for the Tigers either. Sophomore guard, Andre Stringer is averaging 10.4 points per game.
The Bulldogs will counter with one of the hottest tandems in the conference in Dee Bost and Arnett Moultrie.
The duo, along with Renardo Sidney, carried State to its first SEC road win last Saturday.
Moultrie paces the league with 11 double-doubles after scoring 21 points and claiming 14 rebounds against the Commodores. Bost added 24 points while having what Stansbury tabbed as his best game of the season.
The x-factor last Saturday was the five 3-point effort by sophomore Jalen Steele.
The Bulldogs will turn to him once again against the Tigers.
“I’ve always said that Jalen is the one guy that does something different on this basketball team,” said Stansbury. “He is capable of doing what he did, jump up and make shots. He’s the one guy, if you ask me what his role is… it is to make shots.”
The tip is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on the SEC Network, with Clay Matvick and Joe Dean Jr. handling the broadcast.