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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Bulldogs go from A to Z, beat Arkansas

    The Arkansas Razorbacks (7-12, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) donated 50 bricks to the ongoing construction at Mississippi State (15-5, 5-4 SEC). UA also had eight shots rejected and a couple of air-balls in the 84-54 drumming at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.
    State began the game with perhaps the best collective half of the season, holding UA to 5-30 from the field for 18 points, while scoring 52 points whenever and however.
    “I was exceptionally pleased to win this game because of the way we played,” MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We had tremendous energy, lots of confidence and we shared the basketball. I thought our guards took their guards and shut them out. We controlled both ends and when you do that, sometimes you end up with a score like that.”
    UA’s trademark was once “Forty minutes of hell.” MSU took them Saturday. The athletic tandem of senior Derrick Zimmerman and junior Timmy Bowers took it upon themselves to educate UA freshmen Eric Ferguson and Jonathon Modica. Modica’s first trip to the Hump was following back-to-back 26-point outings. He scored four.
    “I didn’t want to let him come in here and get 26,” Bowers said. “With freshmen, you have to establish yourself in the league so I wanted let him know that I would be in his face, contesting all of his shots and not give him anything going to the lane.”
    Zimmerman had eight assists, three blocks, a steal and only two turnovers.
    “It probably makes other players think about shooting a jump shot with the guards so close,” Z said. “You are not gonna find too many guards like Timmy and myself who can jump up and block shots.”
    Bowers had five assists, a steal, only one turnover and made an immaculate rejection of his own. Despite being seven inches shorter than UA’s Michael Jones, Bowers delivered a return to sender message about four rows into the crowd.
    “I wanted to close out. I knew he wasn’t going to head fake, and I knew that I was quicker off the floor than he was going to be,” Bowers said. “I just jumped up and it hit my hand. It’s tough not to smile, but I just try to keep my composure through the whole game.”
    Meanwhile, State pounded the ball inside for a 40-18 margin in the paint and dictated the tempo for a 16-0 edge in fast break points. Ten players scored for the Bulldogs.
    Junior Mario Austin led with 19 points and 12 rebounds to record his fourth double-double of the season. Austin, who moved to 24th on the all-time MSU scoring list (1,046), ran ahead of UA post players for transition lay-ups and dunks.
    “It just so happened, that they were getting caught napping,” Austin said. “Without my guards rebounding and defending I never would have gotten to run out today. Tim and Z played great on the perimeter.”
    Reserve Marcus Campbell provided nine points and 10 boards when Austin needed a breather.
    Ontario Harper continued his Renaissance, scoring 14 and grabbing nine boards.
    “My confidence is back,” Harper said. “I feel like I am playing like I was earlier in the year.”
    State also got 12 points in 13 minutes from Winsome Frazier, but it came with a cost.
    “Unfortunately, I got put out with an injury. I contested a shot, then landed on someone’s foot,” Frazier recalled. “I wanted to go out in the second half, but tried a lay-up and told coach that I wouldn’t be 100 percent.”
    The Hogs stomped back in the second half with 24 points in the first eight minutes, but never got closer than 66-42.
    The Bulldogs will have an open schedule until a 6 p.m. rematch with arch-rival Mississippi. The Rebels lost 80-62 against Kentucky Saturday. SEC-TV will air the game on Fox Sports.
    “We won’t prepare them any differently,” Stansbury said. “We didn’t prepare for a blowout [against Arkansas]. We understand how important, no matter who it is, that each next game be our biggest. This one is always special [and will be more so] since we won up there already.”
    “[Against UM], you have to focus on defense,” Austin said. “If you focus on offense, you will fail.”
    “We have a week to prepare, and if you can’t focus on your rival, you are not going to focus for anybody,” Bowers added.

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    Bulldogs go from A to Z, beat Arkansas