So that’s what winning feels like…man it’s been awhile. MSU (17-7) had loss 4 of their last 5, and 2 in a row, coming into Thursday night’s game versus rival Ole Miss (17-7). State came out of the gate on a 6-0 run, which drew an Ole Miss timeout, and some noise from the home crowd. But, what does history tell you? If you guessed an 18-6 run by Ole Miss, you are a WINNER! Careless passes by Stewart, Benok, and Bost, wasted turnovers MSU took from the Rebs, and killed opportunities to put Ole Miss away even earlier. During the first half, Trevor Gaskins and Zach Graham, kept the game in reach, along with the shooting of Terrico White. MSU would respond with a 8-2 run and tie it at 20, the teams would battle back-n-forth til half, where State held a 4 point lead of 33-29. The Bulldogs would never trail again, leading by as much as 13 in the second half, and allowing the Rebs back within 5 during the closing minutes. The Rebels heated run, was the result of press defense, which was consistent in forcing Bulldog turnovers, keeping the ball out of Dee Bost’s hands, and not allowing the Dawgs to find an offensive rhythm for about a 3 minute stretch. Romero Osby was almost solely responsible for keeping the Rebs at bay during that stint, and securing an MSU win, by driving the lane and creating scoring opportunities. That’s my brief synopsis, now for the numbers and stats, and what caught my attention.
Major Props: Ravern Johnson, with 18 points, 1 block, and 2 stls. Barry Stewart, with 11 points, 6 rebs, and 4 asst. I wanted more of Stewart earlier on in games, and I got it. Jarvis Varnado, with 11 points, 4 blk, 4 asst, and 11 rebs. Varnado got pushed around almost the whole night on the offensive end, but with strong play on the boards, and effective shot blocking and altering, made his presence felt. And btw, how the heck did Reese Davis and Jimmy Dykes, not acknowledge the fact that the Henry kid from Ole Miss FLOPPED on the elbow from JV. There was some contact, but after getting pushed around all night, not to mention the elbow to his chin, I can’t blame JV for throwing one himself, and making a STATEment. Dee Bost, even though he didn’t play anywhere near his full potential, and was careless with the ball, Dee showed some signs of life for the first time in 2 weeks, with 11 points, 2 steals, 3 asst, and 4 rebs. So, we know he’s alive, some emotion was shown. Romero Osby was huge in his 13 minutes of play, posting 9 points, 1 blk. Finally, I have to give Kodi Augustus some ‘heart points’, he had 2-3pt plays the old fashion way, and was 4-4 from the line, finishing with 8 points and 3 rebs. Phil Turner didn’t score, but 3 asst and 5 rebs, and the all out effort he provides, very beneficial. I know some of these stats aren’t eye-popping, but the timing in which these guys hit shots, got a dunk or block, or made their free throws…HUGE. Total team effort. No Props: To the lack of adjustments made to combat the Reb’s pressure D, but I have to say about 90% of what I saw was on the boys, not Stans. For the Rebs, Gaskins and Graham made some key shots throughout the game, but displayed some poor judgement in shot choices in 2nd half.
Numbers/Stats: State shot 49% from the field, and the Dawgs are now 10-0 when shooting 45% or better. State only shot 33% from the perimeter, 8 of 24, but like I said, the timing of the shots was everything. Get out your Block Meter- JV is only 22 away from the all-time blocks record. State held the #2 offense in the SEC, to 18 points below their average.
Bragging Rights: The Bulldogs now have a +36 game advantage in the basketball series with Ole Miss. Stansbury has improved to 18-7 all time vs the Rebs. And Ole Miss has 1 victory in Starkville, in the past 11 years. And this is the 4th time the Dawgs have swept the season series with the Rebs, in the last 7 years. And a little bragging on my prediction, I was 4 points off. I predicted 71-67, while the final was 71-63…not bad.
State now turns their attention to Auburn on Saturday night, then #2 UK on Tuesday. Both games will be televised by the ESPN Networks.
Is this what the Dawgs needed for the road ahead? Sometimes it doesn’t matter how ugly a win is, but rather reminding yourself of what it feels like to win once again. Your opinion? I think there’s some danger in over looking Auburn, Tay Waller and Hargrove can ball…glad they don’t play D though.
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