The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

New line-up leads to big changes

Olivia Zeringue | The Reflector

Since promoting Lamar Peters to the starting line-up, the Bulldogs are 2-0 in SEC play. Peters is averaging 12.7 points in SEC play.

Mississippi State Men’s basketball won back-to-back road SEC games for the first time in six years, which was unexpected after they fell to Alabama at home on Jan. 3. 

The change MSU made happened between their loss against Alabama and their first road victory at LSU. 

Head Coach Ben Howland took senior point guard I.J. Ready, the most experienced player on MSU’s roster, out of the starting line-up and inserted true freshman Lamar Peters in his place. They also replaced Xavian Stapleton with Aric Holman. 

At a press conference on Monday Coach Howland explained how he wanted to get Holman in to put more players back in their natural positions. 

“I just think in terms of our size, it is hopefully a better start on the back boards,” Coach Howland said. “It helps to play Aric, Mario (Kegler) and Q (Weatherspoon) all at their natural positions which is the two, three and four, but they can all play different spots and that is the sign of a really good player.”

The changes worked as MSU scored 95 points in Baton Rouge against LSU after scoring just 58 in the loss to Alabama during the previous game.

The 95 points are the most MSU has scored in an SEC road game since 1963.

They shot 54 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the three-point arc. The team followed up that performance with an 84-78 victory on Tuesday in Fayetteville against Arkansas. This time, the Bulldogs shot 46 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the three-point arc.

With the insertion of Lamar Peters in the starting lineup, I.J. Ready, the veteran of the team, is now coming off of the bench. With MSU being the second-youngest team in the country, behind the University of Illinois in Chicago, Ready had to lead by example. He said on Monday he did not care whether he started or came off the bench, he just wanted to do what was necessary to win. 

“At this point, if it takes for whoever Coach Howland wants to start and we are winning, I am with it,” Ready said. “I just want to come in and win games and I am going to come in and play like I have all season. I will score when I need to, but most importantly, make plays and defend.”

Another place the lineup change helped MSU was on the boards. Entering their game Tuesday night against Arkansas, MSU ranked last in the SEC in rebounds a game. The changes were quick and noticeable. Against Alabama, MSU pulled in just 26 rebounds, however, against LSU, they pulled in 40 and then 41 against Arkansas.

Holman said the lineup helped rebounding by putting their best rebounders in the game. 

“It was easier to rebound because I felt as if we had our best rebounders on the floor, so I felt more comfortable in that area,” Holman said.

The MSU Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday against Texas A&M. The game will be at home in the Hump and will tip at noon.

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
New line-up leads to big changes