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Looking Back at Arkansas, Getting Ready for Bama

Posted by Kyle Weidie on January 14, 2009

Great opening SEC for the Dawgs against Arkansas last Saturday. MSU still got beat on the boards by the Razorbacks, 42-38, but that’s far from getting dominated….although, 17 Arkansas offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points doesn’t thrill.

However, as long as Mississippi State is shooting 11-27 from deep (40.7%) and running with four quick guards, outscoring the Hogs 15-0 in fast break points, I suppose they can more than compensate for getting beat on the glass (I bet it still irks Stansbury though…him being a big rebounding guy).

I didn’t get a chance to watch the game, (I was attending a Wizards game in Washington, DC and following game updates on my blackberry), but my father did, and he provided me with a couple bullet points on the game:

  • Some people say you can’t live on 3-pointers but Kentucky won a national title shooting the three.
  • Kodi Augustus and Elgin Bailey got some decent minutes, but Brian Johnson was a DNP after going into the stands in the final minute against WKU.
  • Low turnovers – maybe the small line-up will work and is coming together although it goes against the grain for SEC play – let’s hope they are growing up.

Good luck to the Dawgs tonight against the Tide.

MSU-Arkansas Links

[Inside Mississippi State Sports]
The buzz word after Mississippi State’s 70-56 win at Arkansas was “poise,” because the young Bulldogs showed plenty of it. For a team so lacking in senior leadership, it was mildly surprising to see them not get rattled at Bud Walton Arena. Dee Bost, the freshman point guard, was indeed calm and collected en route to his 17-point performance, and his improved play has been key in MSU’s recent surge.

[Clarion-Ledger “The Blog”]
Dee Bost’s performance tonight at point guard was spectacular. The guy scored 17, including 13 in the second half. He had three 3-pointers. He played tight defense on Courtney Fortson — even following him over to John Pelphrey when the Arkansas coach called his guard over during a free throw.

“I’ve brought a lot more experienced teams up here than this team, a lot bigger teams. But I don’t think I’ve ever brought a team up in here that played in this building and kept their composure for 40 minutes like this team did.” -Rick Stansbury

[Razorback Central]
Bud Walton Arena started to empty out with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left on the clock Saturday night. A few seconds later, the scene on the Arkansas bench revealed how truly devastating the Razorbacks’ 70-56 loss to Mississippi State felt. Michael Washington sulked in his chair, a towel hanging from his mouth. Courtney Fortson buried his head in his hands. Michael Sanchez stood in shock, his hands propped on top of his head.

From Alabama

[TimesDaily.com]
Wednesday’s matchup (7 p.m.) in Humphrey Coliseum features two teams with contrasting styles. In the past, Mississippi State has been an inside, power-type team but coach Rick Stansbury is now using a four-guard offense bolstered by Jarvis Varnardo in the paint. Alabama features one of the strongest front courts in the league with freshman JaMychael Green, sophomore Justin Knox and juniors Yamene Coleman and Michael Jemison, all of whom are 6-foot-7 or taller.

[montgomeryadvertiser.com]
Perceptions are often reached based on predictions or expectations and Stansbury remains fearful that his four-guard attack will be exposed in tonight’s meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs.

On Dee Bost

[NE Miss. Daily Journal]
When Bost came to an MSU camp in June of 2007, Stansbury immediately put the ball in his hands and told him to run the point. Bost inwardly questioned the wisdom of such a move. At Concord, the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder played the four position.  His brother ran the point, and Bost had no ambitions of assuming that role at the next level. However, he quickly took to the role.

[Clarion-Ledger]
Bost, now Mississippi State’s starting point guard, was named the Southeastern Conference’s freshman of the week……..The award for Bost, now known as just “Dee,” came on the heels of his 35 points in State’s two games last week, wins over Western Kentucky and Arkansas. But in that 80-minute span, his greatest contribution was in the final 20 minutes at Arkansas. He scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, including three momentum-changing 3-pointers and lock-down defense on Arkansas guard Courtney Fortson, to help cement his cause as one of the league’s emerging young guards.

“I was surprised because I wasn’t thinking about getting an award. I just went out there and played. More importantly, we got the win, and that’s all that matters.” –Dee Bost

Posted in alabama crimson tide, arkansas razorbacks, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

In One Night, Miss. State Survives Buzzer Beater, Tornado and Free Throw Demons

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 15, 2008

Last night’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide started well enough for the Mississippi State Bulldogs: an alley-oop to Jamont Gordon on the very first play. The Bulldogs having their way in the paint against the non-existent Alabama defense led to a Mark Gottfried timeout 48 seconds into the match. The Bulldogs eventually got a 10-0 lead within the first three minutes.

But when MSU started getting sloppy, resulting from a couple undisciplined efforts on defense and several ill-advised shots, the Crimson Tide would go on a run to tie the game at 27. Bama’s streak would continue until they had a nine point lead at 36-27. During that stretch, Mississippi State put down their brushes and halted work in the paint. Instead, they opted to launch nine three pointers, missing all except one. Who made the one? Big man Charles Rhodes of course.

The Bulldog zone aided the most in Alabama’s foray into the game. Alternatively, the Tide went 8-14 from long distance as the Bulldogs waited until around the five minute mark to test their man defense. Oh, and don’t forget points off turnovers, Alabama had 15 in the first half as they led 36-29 at intermission. The only thing that didn’t really hamper the Bulldogs was free throw shooting; they went 8-10 from the line.

The beginning of the second half did not show much promise as the Miss. State scored four points, committed three turnovers and missed five shots (including three 3-pointers) in the first six minutes. It was hard to imagine that the same team which scored 10 points in the first 2:23 would only score 23 points in the next 23:48. The Mississippi State zone offense has long been one of the weaker points of Coach Stansbury’s repertoire. It usually involves dribbling and passing the ball around the horn as the shot clock runs down, the end result being the chance of a long distance shot.

But someone, something, cracked open the door of emotion for the Bulldogs….if just a little bit. The M-State team fought their way back to a three point deficit, down 46-43 with 11 minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, I’m one who focuses more on the negative……such as Jamont Gordon’s pocket defense (I know that Rick Stansbury teaches his kids to hand-carry the ball and to do away with hands in holsters); the abundance of Alabama offensive rebounds (they had nine in the second half); and the zero confidence of Barry Stewart. I’ve issued another amber alert on the sophomore, a previous member of the SEC All-Freshman team.

And then, Jamont Gordon does something so amazing on offense, that we have no choice but to gasp and put aside his transgressions. With about 1:20 left in the game, Gordon, aka The Ice Cream Man, charged up the court, gave a nasty cross-over (looked like the defender was leaning in the wrong direction) and did his impersonation of a train going down the lane with a huge left-handed dunk, which put Mississippi State up 58-56.

But those holsters then got stuck as the Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot at the O.K. Corral. If Barry Stewart, the team’s starting 2-guard who is supposed to be a shooter, makes both of his free-throws with 7 seconds left, you could forget all about the text below. Barry didn’t. He missed his second attempt from the charity stripe leaving MSU with only a 3 point lead.

Ultimately, Alabama was left taking the ball out of bounds on their end with two seconds left in the game. Mistake #1: Arguable. Mississippi State did not put a man on the inbounds passer. Yes, I understand wanting to avoid a lob pass with an extra rover, but two seconds is a lot of time. I’d rather prevent the “easy” pass. Mistake #2: Huge. Mississippi State, at least two fouls away from putting Alabama in the double bonus, did not foul the man on the floor. Thank you Ben Hansbrough. You’ve no doubt seen the highlights of the Mykal Riley 3-pointer, sending the game into overtime. And perhaps you’ve seen the footage of an incensed Stansbury who told his team to foul.

Surprise! A tornado. With 2:11 left in the overtime period, Mississippi State held onto a three point lead as they fouled Alabama’s Alonzo Gee on the floor; the winds in the Georgia Dome began to blow. At first, I thought the players were looking up at the jumbotron to see a replay of the foul. As the cameras panned to the swaying suspended metal structures, I knew the situation was a scary one. The players, the coaches, and their families cleared the court as those in attendance were advised to stay inside the Georgia Dome to safely wait out the storm. Read the report from Kyle Veazy’s blog on the Clarion-Ledger.

A lengthy delay made everyone wonder about the next course of action. The final 2:11 resumed well past 10:30 pm est. Remember that foul on Alonzo Gee? Must’ve been the hardest front end of a 1-and-1 ever…..after a 63 minute delay and a 10 minute warm-up, he missed.

The play of the game came when Ben Hansbrough missed a 3-pointer. Jamont Gordon, who had impressed me with his muscle on the offensive glass, got the strong rebound and put-back, giving MSU a five point lead, 66-61 with 52 seconds left. A resilient Bama hung around. Richard Hendrix was allowed to get not one, but two offensive put-back dunks. Gordon simply neglected to box him out on one occasion. In the end, fate was in the hands of the younger Hansbrough brother.

Poor Ben Hansbrough. One Shining Moment wasn’t playing in the locker room for him last night. He played a gutty game with 8 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds and only 1 turnover; a great stat line. Unfortunately, he was cold from the field, taking all eight of his shots from beyond the arc and making only two. He failed to commit the foul at the end of regulation, but not forgetting Stewart’s missed FT.

Seven seconds left, Mississippi State up by a deuce and Ben Hansbrough at the line with a chance for redemption. A white guy missing both free-throws? Seems like a tornado just hit the dome of my basketball mentality. With Alabama down a bucket, this gave Mykal Riley another chance to be a hero; twice in one day…that guy’s lucky. But a 3-point miss that went 20% in then 100% out, perhaps moved by dissipating winds, would swing the luck back in the Bulldogs direction.

Final Score: Mississippi State 69, Alabama 67

An Interview: with the Tornado

AP Photos: from Gregg Ellis – Inside Mississippi State Sports blog

The Game Story: Clarion-Ledger

The Tornado Story: Atlanta Journal and Constitution

Wrap-Up: Post game notes and interviews from secsports.com

Posted in alabama crimson tide, Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports, sec tournament | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »