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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU men’s hoops returns to winning ways with win over Vanderbilt

Ivy Rose Ball
Mississippi State’s Tolu Smith (#1) during the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Vanderbilt Commodores at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS.

The Mississippi State University men’s basketball team came back to Starkville this past Saturday afternoon and routed Vanderbilt 68-55 in the Humphrey Coliseum for a much-needed win after a going through a two-game skid.

It took a bit of time for the Bulldogs’ offense to heat up, but they eventually took the lead with a dunk from forward Jimmy Bell Jr. with 12:04 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs’ defense looked the best it has in a while, forcing 11 turnovers and holding the Commodores to 25.9% shooting from the floor in the first half.

As one of the Bulldogs’ most promising players, graduate Tolu Smith led the team with 25 points and a season-high 11 rebounds. It marked Smith’s second double-double of the season as well as the 27th of his career, which currently leads all active players in the SEC.

“I think the coaching staff and my team did a great job of getting me and [Jimmy Bell Jr.] the ball,” Smith said. “We put a lot of work in on the low block and a lot of work in just in our game in general, so the results showed tonight.”

Meanwhile, forward D.J. Jeffries scored 10 points and six rebounds, while freshman sensation Josh Hubbard scored 11 points off the bench.

However, despite some offensive highlights, there are still things that need to be worked on, including the Bulldogs’ free throw shooting that went 54.5% from the charity stripe in Saturday’s game.

As a team, the Bulldogs have shot 69.8% from the free throw line, which ranks as the third worst percentage in the SEC.

Bulldog head coach Chris Jans noted that his team is playing a different game this year and hopes they will continue to improve as the season progresses.

“We were playing a style that, you know, we’ve been trying to do lately,” Jans said. “Trying to play inside-out, get a bunch of paint touches, trying to get to the line and we were doing it. The defense was pretty locked in from the jump.”

With Saturday’s win, the Bulldogs improve to 13-5 overall record, including 2-3 in SEC play.

Up next, the Bulldogs will take the road to Gainesville, Florida, to compete against the University of Florida Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be aired on SEC Network.

About the Contributor
Colin James
Colin James, Staff Writer
Colin James is a senior communication major. Colin is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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