Smith on Sports: MSU shows its progress with big win

Sports Editor

What a difference one year makes.
Mississippi State suffered a 15-point loss at Cincinnati last year and it was a game where the Bulldogs were noticeably out-played.

On Saturday night at Humphrey Coliseum, MSU made sure that did not happen again.

The Bulldogs played perhaps their best game of the season and defeated the Bearcats 70-59.

Chants of “SEC, SEC” were being offered by the crowd as the final seconds were counting down and it was a big win for MSU and the Southeastern Conference.

Cincinnati was a very good team out of the American Athletic Conference and came into the game with a 9-1 record. The Bearcats play really hard, but the Bulldogs matched that intensity and surpassed it.

One of the biggest keys, not only in the Cincinnati game but all year long, for MSU has been the play of Lamar Peters.

Peters has been outstanding in the last three games for the Bulldogs with 27 points against McNeese State and a career-high 28 points against Clemson and 14 more against Cincinnati with three 3-point field goals.

During last year’s meeting with the Bearcats, Peters was held scoreless. He was 0-for-11 from the field, including 0-for 7 from 3-point range.

If MSU can continue to get the kind of production from Peters that he has provided the last three games, then it is going to be very difficult to beat this season.

Peters is better, but he had plenty of help on Saturday.

Quinndary Weatherspoon was his usual consistent self and joined Peters with 14 points, but former Starkville High School player Tyson Carter was very valuable with his 12 points.

Carter hit some big shots in the game. His slam dunk with 8:25 remaining gave the Bulldogs a 52-45 lead, then his 3-pointer with 3:39 left put them up by double digits at 62-52.

Freshman Reggie Perry came off the bench to contribute 12 points and he will be a good player in the future for MSU along with fellow freshman Robert Woodard II.

With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 9-1 and have a chance to improve on their No. 18 ranking when the next polls come out.

MSU can reach the 10-win mark before Christmas like it did last season with games against Wofford at home on Wednesday night, then against Wright State in Jackson on Saturday.

The Bulldogs appear to be using the momentum that it generated from last season’s National Invitational Tournament quarterfinal run to get off to the fast start they are enjoying now.

There is no doubt that MSU is a better team and has one of the more talented squads in the SEC.

With more efforts like we witnessed on Saturday night, the next three months could be very exciting for the Bulldogs.

Danny P. Smith is the 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 SDN or its staff.