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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Dawgs show that sharing is caring in hoops exhibition

    Fans and coaches had questions. Mississippi State’s players had answers.
    The Bulldogs scorched the nets 24 out of 42 times in the first half against the CBA’s Sioux Falls Skyforce for a 62-41 halftime lead and played on autopilot in the second half for the 107-92 exhibition win.
    “We played with tremendous effort on both ends in that first 20 minutes,” MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We got a lot of easy baskets in transition.”
    Four starters scored in double figures and four starters had three assists. The Dawgs found that sharing the wealth can lead to success this season.
    “Our guys are unselfish,” senior co-captain Timmy Bowers said. “Everyone believes if a guy has a better shot, you should make that extra pass.”
    Stansbury said that the team is not where he wants them to be, but the game is a good starting point. The exhibition cleared up a few questions…
    Will Bowers be at point or two guard?
    Both. Despite a sore knee from an injury in Wednesday’s practice, Bowers started at the point, with Winsome Frazier at shooting guard
    “Mom called and told me not to play, but I told her the team needed me to play,” Bowers said.
    The swollen knee didn’t affect Bowers too much. He led the Bulldogs with 25 points and three blocks. Not to be outdone, Frazier scored 19 in the first half on 7-10 from the field, including five treys, but only took one shot in the second half.
    “I just let the flow of the game come to me-I am not worried about the points or shots, I just try and play with energy,” Frazier explained. “Coach tells me to shoot when I get it either off the screen or spotting up. I just felt comfortable.”
    Stansbury said that Frazier has performed well in the Fall and added, “When he can get his feet set and the ball comes to him, he’s pretty good. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he plays wide-open.”
    Which Bulldog can replace leading scorer and rebounder Mario Austin? Campbell or Roberts?
    State started Marcus Campbell at center and Lawrence Roberts at power forward. Campbell scored 15 and rebounded 11 for the game’s only double-double.
    “I’m just working harder and doing what my coaches ask of me,” Campbell said. “I am trying to be a presence, a force.”
    Roberts, who scored 21 on 7-11 from the field and 6-6 from the line and snagged nine boards, said the team opened opportunities down low with the perimeter game and that he sees a lot of potential so far.
    “We tried to spread the defense out and then attack on the inside,” Roberts said. “The sky is the limit for us.”
    Roberts showed potential that will have Bulldog diehards saying, “Mario who?” by the end of the month.
    Is Gary Ervin legit?
    Yes. The true freshman notched four assists and two thefts in 23 minutes of play at the point. Ervin excited the crowd of 5,140 with a couple of passes that had Skyforce defenders doing double takes.
    How deep is the bench?
    The starters and Ervin played 153 out of 200 total minutes. Nine other players combined for the remaining time.
    “We know who our top six are,” Stansbury said. “We know who those next one’s have to be and they just have to get some playing time.”
    The Dawgs will be without wing Ontario Harper for the entire season. Transfer Shane Power is still in the recovery process after being sidelined for 20 months due to the NCAA’s transfer rule and a knee injury. Post player Terry Licorish spent Saturday in a Tupelo hospital with an undisclosed virus.
    What about defense and rebounding?
    Although 92 points allowed might spark alarm in some, State held the Skyforce to 40.2 percent from the field.
    Stansbury pointed out that the game’s fast tempo allowed Sioux Falls more shots. The Skyforce attempted 82 shots and made 33. David Jackson led all scorers with 27 and accounted for 17 of the team’s 51 second half points.
    The Dawgs owned the glass 57-34, leaving the Skyforce grounded.
    Stansbury said that the team has a long way to go before the team can be considered a legitimate threat to defend its SEC West title.
    “We have to improve in transition, in half court defense, in a lot of things, but this is a good starting point.”
    The Dawgs will battle the Columbus (Ga.) Riverdragons of the NBDL Saturday at 7 p.m. in the final exhibition contest of the season at Humphrey Coliseum before opening the following Saturday against Tennessee-Martin.

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    Dawgs show that sharing is caring in hoops exhibition