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

Dogs dismantle Hogs

Fans of basketball know all too well that players and teams have some nights that are better than others.

Some nights the shots are falling, the team is playing great defense and all goes according to plan. Other nights, a team struggles to hit shots and plays shoddy defense. Much to the delight of Misssissippi State University basketball fans, the former was the case on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs put together what was, according to Head Coach Ben Howland, their most complete game of the season.

The team shot 52.9 percent from the floor and held the Razorbacks to only 16 field goals and three assists in a 78-46 victory in Starkville.  

The win moved the team to 10-13 overall and 3-8 in Southeastern Conference play. 

During the post-game press conference, Howland was high on his teams’s effort on defense.

“I was really impressed with our defense. We communicated, stayed with the shooters and took away the strengths of their personnel,” Howland said.

The blowout over Arkansas marks the largest  margin of victory in a conference game since 2005, when the Bulldogs defeated the Auburn Tigers  90-53. MSU also held an 11-plus rebounding advantage over the Razorbacks.

On that night senior Gavin Ware led the Bulldogs in scoring with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Wares’s double-double marked  his sixth of the year. Ware told reporters after the game that his team’s effort was a direct result of the strong defense they played that night.

“We clicked very well on defense and that allowed us to execute on offense,” the senior said. “We were really happy at halftime but we knew we couldn’t let up.  It was great to see everybody  clicking on defense.”

Freshman guard Quinndary Weatherspoon had a solid performance as well, posting 16 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double.

Mississippi State’s defense made some adjustments in Tuesday’s game after their first matchup with Arkansas.

“The first time we played zone and they had a couple guys go off,” Weatherspoon said. “I think the man really helped us tonight. We tried to prevent them from getting open shots.”

Obviously the transition was just what the doctor ordered for the Bulldogs and their suffocating defense proved too much for Arkansas to handle. Howland said he feels  his team is getting more comfortable playing man-to-man defense. He spoke specifically about his two star freshmen, Malik Newman and Quinndary Weatherspoon.

“They’re doing a better job helping and jumping to the ball. As freshmen, that is huge,”he said.

Now, Howland says his team must build on the momentum of a huge win.

“Now everyone sees what we are capable of. We can be a really good team,” he said.

Coach Howland and the Bulldogs now turn their attention to the Georgia Bulldogs. 

“We will need all the preparation we can get against Georgia,”Howland said. “They are a very good team and they use a bunch of different sets.”

Georgia visits Humphrey Coliseum for the second game in a three–game homestand for MSU. Tip off for the contest is 7 p.m. and the game will be shown nationally on the SEC Network.

The Bulldogs will wrap up the their three-game home series against Vanderbilt at 8 p.m.  on Tuesday, with that game also on SEC Network. 

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Dogs dismantle Hogs