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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Defense reigns supreme for MSU men’s basketball in win over Missouri Tigers

Landon Scheel | The Reflector

Shakeel Moore is the 28th player to record 100 steals at MSU, and he accomplished that feat in just 55 games.

Mississippi State University men’s basketball held the ninth-ranked scoring offense below 60 points for the first time this season as the Bulldogs defeated the University of Missouri 63-52 in an electric Humphrey Coliseum Saturday.

Going into Saturday’s game, Missouri’s offense averaged 83.3 points per game with wins over the University of Kentucky and the University of Arkansas. MSU forced Missouri into taking bad shots from beyond the arc, which led the Tigers to shoot 1-11 (9%) from three in the first half.

Junior forward Cameron Matthews discussed how MSU head coach Chris Jans prepped the Bulldogs before the matchup against Mizzou.

“In our game prep, (coach Jans), was talking about how (Missouri) is really good when they are feeling good, so our main objective was to get to the ball and make them as uncomfortable as we could,” Matthews said after the win.

Once again, the Bulldogs’ defense stepped up in a big-time game. However, redshirt senior Tolu Smith fueled the MSU offense in one of Smith’s best performances of the season.

In the win over Missouri, Smith recorded 25 points and 12 rebounds, claiming his fifth double-double over the last seven games. Smith also shot a much-improved 9-12 at the charity stripe in the win while he recorded 1,000 career points at MSU, making him the 42nd player in program history to reach that mark.

Smith was not the only Bulldog who had an impressive night offensively, however, as multiple MSU players made some electric posters and alley-oops to get the fans on their feet in the Hump. Two of the most memorable plays of the night came from forward Tyler Stevenson and guard Shakeel Moore as they soared through the air to create highlight alley-oop dunks.

Stevenson discussed the feeling of getting the Bulldog faithful excited and energized after the big play against the Tigers.

“I just like bringing the excitement to it because when the fans do it, I know it helps us out. So when the crowd gets like that, I know that’s going to give us a little bit of juice to go out and play for them,” Stevenson said.

The Bulldogs showed the toughness and grit against Mizzou that was displayed earlier in the season when MSU won 11 games in a row. Coach Jans’ squad is now on a three-game winning streak with important SEC games on the horizon.

During the postgame presser, coach Jans discussed his team’s resilience and how they handled the tough stretch.

“They kept working,” Jans said. “They didn’t start pointing fingers. They didn’t listen to any noise when things weren’t going well. I think it’s a testament to who these guys are, how they feel about one another and hopefully, a little bit of belief in what we’re trying to do, not only with this team, but in our program for the long term.”

The season is far from over for the Bulldogs, and the NCAA Tournament hopes are still alive, but MSU has to play consistently as a team if they want to enter the NCAA Tournament. 

The Bulldogs’ next game is against Louisiana State University Wednesday 8 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum. That game will be streamed live on the SEC Network.

About the Contributor
Dylan Flippo
Dylan Flippo, Former Sports Editor
Dylan Flippo served as the Sports Editor from 2022 to 2023.
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Defense reigns supreme for MSU men’s basketball in win over Missouri Tigers