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Posts Tagged ‘barry stewart’

MSU Bulldogs Not Very Courteous To Gents, Down Centenary 77-55

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 16, 2008

Yesterday’s season opener against the Centenary Gents went just about as expected for Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury. The Bulldogs led from start to finish, blowing out their Summit League opponent by 22 points.

Coach Stansbury got to empty his bench, see his team play aggressive defense against an inferior opponent, and  was able to observe the Bulldogs against the 1-3-1 zone defense that Centenary often plays. Stansbury’s teams have traditionally struggled with zone offense, but with shooters like Dee Bost, Barry Stewart, and Ravern Johnson, who were a combined 9-16 from deep, the rest is elementary.

Hopefully the win against Centenary will help the Bulldogs forget about a close-call against Oklahoma City, the defending NAIA champion, a week earlier. OKC hit a shot to go up 60-48 with 5:58 left in the 2nd half, after which the Bulldogs went on a 19-5 run to win the game, 67-65. Jamarcus Ellis, who led Oklahoma City with 26 points, had a chance to win at the buzzer, but came up short.

The Bulldogs still must overcome an injury to big man Brian Johnson, who severely sprained his ankle in practice on Tuesday, November 11th and is scheduled to be out 2-4 weeks.  Next up for the Bulldogs, three home games in the next six days: Louisiana-Monroe on Monday, North Alabama on Wednesday, and Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday.

Stat Analysis [Box Score]

  • Barry Stewart negated his four steals with four turnovers.
  • First Game Jitters: The two teams combined to shoot 18-61 from the field in the 1st half. In the second half, they combined for 29-62.
  • In 16 minutes off the bench, Elgin Bailey took a team leading 11 shots, making four and finishing with 10 points.
  • The 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the Bulldogs is not ideal (17 in both categories), but I suppose when you consider that MSU finished with 448 assists to 509 turnovers in 07-08, you can call it progress.
  • Even though Mississippi State out-rebounded Centenary 46-38, they allowed the Gents to get 14 offensive boards — for a team the size of Centenary, that’s way too much.

Did You Know? – Centenary Facts

  • The College of Louisiana, located in Jackson, LA, and Centenary College, located in Clinton, Mississippi, merged to form the Centenary College of Louisiana in 1845.
  • The campus moved from Jackson, LA to its present day location of Shreveport, LA in 1908.
  • Newsweek named Centenary the “Hottest Liberal Arts School You Never Heard Of” in 2007.
  • Centenary is the smallest D1 school in the U.S.
  • You should know the most famous Centenary basketball alum, NBA Hall-of-Famer, Robert Parish. In his four years as a Gent, Parish played in 108 games, scored 2,334 points (21.6 per game), and grabbed 1,820 rebounds (16.9 per game). Parish still holds Centenary basketball records for most points in a game (50), most rebounds in a game (33), in a season (505), and in a career (1820), among other records. During Parish’s four years in Shreveport, the Gents posted a record of 87-21.
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Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldogs Hold Strong in Opening Exhibition Basketball Game

Posted by Kyle Weidie on November 2, 2008

TCOB….“Taking Care of Business”….that’s what the Mississippi State Bulldogs did in their opening exhibition match against the DII Montevallo Falcons. In 2007, the Falcons were champions of the Gulf South Conference, and made it to the DII Elite Eight. On Saturday, the Bulldogs held the Falcons to 32.4% shooting en route to an 88-59 win.

Didn’t see the game, but here’s what I learned from the boxscore:

  • The Bulldog offense started out slow shooting 36.1% in the first half, and ideally, you’d like MSU to put up more than 88 points against a DII opponent……but all that’s okay. With a mix of fresh faces, and a new PG trying to get acclimated to running the offense, the development won’t be instant gratification.
  • Speaking of that point guard, Dee Bost couldn’t find the range from outside, going 1-5 from deep, but I’d much rather see that 7 assists to only 3 turnovers in his stat line. Bost played a team high 32 minutes.
  • Ravern Johnson led the Dawgs in scoring with 19, and took the most shots, 14 attempts, making 8. It’s looking more and more like he will be the safe bet to be Mississippi State’s leading scorer this year.
  • Barry Stewart filled up the stat sheet in good ways (10 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, a block and a steal), and bad (3 turnovers, 4 fouls). I believe that if Barry Stewart accepts the role of Robin to Ravern Johnson’s Batman, the two will form one of the more dangerous scoring duos in the SEC. I hope to see Stewart hitting a lot of spot up jumpers created by Bost and Johnson.
  • Jarvis Varnado had a very strong game — 17 points (7-9 shooting), 12 boards, 8 blocks, 4 assists, 1 turnover — those last two categories being the most remarkable.
  • Perhaps freshman big man, Romero Osby, was just as impressive with a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in only 13 minutes on the court.

News Quotables:

[MSU rolls past Montevallo for hoops win – NE Mississippi Daily Journal]

Stansbury was especially pleased with his team’s unselfish play. The Bulldogs had assists on 23 of their 32 field goals. “I think the thing that was most pleasing to me was, we shared that basketball,” he said. “I thought that basketball flowed through a lot of people.”

[Rick Stansbury Post Game Quotes MStateAthletics.com]

  • “[Jarvis Varnado] is special in his ability to pass out of the paint. If people double team him it is okay to throw it in there. It is not like a black hole, once it goes in it does not go out.”
    In other words, Varnado is not like Robert Jackson….or Mario Austin….or Lawrence Roberts….or Charles Rhodes. Nothing against those guys, but a big man more willing to pass is refreshing.
  • “Number one [Romero Osby] plays hard and he is very active. He goes after the boards every time a shot goes up.”
  • In reference to Dee Bost: “If I were a player I would be smiling, because all you have to do is run if you want to score. I should never as a coach, tell you to sprint, because if you want that basketball all you got to do is run hard.”
  • “I like our ability to share the basketball and the chemistry we are working with. Brian Johnson did a good job establishing his presence tonight as well.”

For other thoughts, check out the comment section on this post at bullybasketball.blogspot.

Next up: Exhibition #2 against Oklahoma City in Starkville on Saturday, November 8th.

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Gearing Up For Basketball: The Mississippi State Bulldogs

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 24, 2008

Media days have come and gone. The Mississippi State Bulldogs are entrenched in preparations for a scrimmage this Saturday, and the first preseason game on Saturday, November 1st. There has been a lot of media coverage surrounding the Bulldogs, especially Jarvis Varnado. Below are the best excepts……the added commentary comes at no charge.

—————————

Mark Gottfried’s eyes widened a bit when asked about Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado becoming an offensive threat this season………Varnado said he can hit a jump shot as far out as 15 feet.
[“Bulldogs’ Varnado broadens his game,” NE Mississippi Daily Journal – Brad Locke]

Still…..teams are going to give Varnado space, he needs to be ready to take advantage from the get-go.

“[Jarvis Varnado] leads by example for the most part with his effort every day,” [Rick] Stansbury said. “He’s not a guy we have to prod very often to get him to play hard. We just have to get him to play hard for more minutes…..He’s a good person and a good kid. Those kind of people you don’t have to worry about much. You don’t have to go to that whip very often with Jarvis.”
[“Varnado wants to be bigger offensive threat,” The Commercial Dispatch – Danny P. Smith]

Uhhh….coach? I know you consider the kids you coach horses….but I still don’t think you wanna talk about whipping black kids in the South….I’m just saying.

Varnado still seems to have that shot-swatting body – he’s still thin as a rail, maybe having gained five pounds in the off-season…..On the 20-minute flight to Birmingham on Wednesday from Starkville’s Bryan Field, he couldn’t even finish a sandwich from Arby’s……”I can eat two of them,” Stansbury said. “He can’t even eat one of them.”
[“A defensive threat, Varnado goes to work on his offensive game,” Clarion-Ledger – Kyle Veazey]

Wait, is Arby’s good for you? No matter…..just reading about Arby’s had my mouth salivating like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of a bell.

“I think the real strength is my creativity,” [Barry Stewart] he said. “You have to find a way to get your shot sometimes. If a (defensive) guy is playing me tight, I might use the big guys as a pick or to run plays off of. You also have to move without the ball.”
[“Stewart, Bulldogs shoot for SEC crown,” The Mississippi Press – Tommy Hicks]

Boy….if Stewart can become a Reggie Miller/Richard Hamilton type (on the college level), then this Mississippi State team can be scary….then again, Rick Stansbury coached teams have been offensively challenged in the past, and the Bulldogs haven’t had a knock-em-down shooter worthy of constantly running ball screens for in a long time.

“I love Dee Bost,” Stansbury said. “He’s got a chance to be as good as we’ve had and that’s a big statement. There’s not many holes in his game right now except he’s a freshman and he’s about 163 pounds. Besides that, he possesses everything that I want a guy to have right now. He’s got a toughness about him. He can defend that ball. He can score it. He’s a terrific passer. But he can defend that basketball, and I love that about him. He’s just young and new.”
[“SEC basketball: Blame the economy for sluggish ticket sales,” Memphis Commercial Appeal – Marlon Morgan]

Hey, I already like this kid better than Gary Ervin.


Suggested Reading:

Zebra Talk – Inside Mississippi State Sports with Brad Locke

Talk about getting grown….the college three point line has been extended a full foot.

“Donovan center of discussion over SEC’s best coach,” Orlando Sentinel – Jeremy Fowler

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

3:45 PM Madness! The Mississippi State Bulldogs Commence Basketball Practice

Posted by Kyle Weidie on October 19, 2008

At 3:45 pm last Friday afternoon, the Mississippi State Bulldogs began a quest for another basketball championship. And so coach Rick Stansbury puts a decade at the helm of the program behind him and begins a new one with his 11th year. For the utmost time, Stansbury is selling his team as young and inexperienced. As the Clarion-Ledger’s Kyle Veazey implies, Stansbury’s media quotes are….manufactured, if you will……and the factory seemingly went out of business awhile ago (damn economy), so Rick is forced to blow the dust of the same ol’ quote handbook year after year.

Can you blame him? There’s a term for the same song and dance, it’s called “coach-speak” and it’s a standard around the country from college to the pros. Coaches aren’t necessarily straight-shooting mavericks, they’re teachers of the game (and let’s be honest, businessmen). But in any case, I’m looking forward to the basketball season and I’m anxious to see just how this young Bulldog team, and the coaching of Rick Stansbury, develops.

Recently, there have been several great articles from media outlets covering the onset of practice, such as from The Commercial Dispatch, the NE Mississippi Daily Journal, College Hoops Net, and Inside Mississippi State Sports (Daily Journal Blog).  Here’s a summation of what I’ve learned from those articles:

  • Stansbury essentially claims the team to be an unknown entity to him….however, that doesn’t mean he’s not aware of the individual strengths and weaknesses observed from the NCAA sanctioned individual workouts, which have been going on almost since the start of school.
  • Stansbury knew well enough to ride the talent of Jamont Gordon like butter on warm bread…..put the ball in the guy’s hands and get out of his way. Sure, many times this laissez-faire method worked to the detriment of the team, but would the Bulldogs have won an SEC West Championship without Gordon? I doubt it.
  • However, Coach is not exactly shedding tears over the early departure of Jamont, and looks forward to working with two new point guards, Dee Bost and Twany Beckham, who are more towards the pure end of the spectrum, yet whose games are different enough to give Stansbury diverse options.
  • Speaking of Beckham, he claims himself to be a leader….I like that.
  • But Barry Stewart is expected to be the leader of the team…..I’m not sure how vocal Stewart is, but in terms of his on-court presence, hopefully he leads by example.
  • Brian Johnson, and his new-found leg strength, could be the pleasant surprise that the rest of the SEC isn’t ready for.
  • The man-child who will garner the most attention is obviously Jarvis Varnado….but one of those “unknowns” Stansbury was speaking about would surely be Varnado’s offensive game. Jarvis had a very active summer, from going up against the likes of Chris Paul and LeBron James, to unveiling some offensive skills at the renowned Adidas Nations camp. So, there’s no reason to think that Varnado’s scoring abilty hasn’t improved by leaps and bounds, and thus, Stansbury will be able to feed him the ball with confidence.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, rick stansbury, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Ranked #96 in the Country, or #36

Posted by Kyle Weidie on August 21, 2008

Well, the former ranking in the title of this post is according to collegehoopsnet, where they are previewing the top 144 NCAA basketball teams in the nation at the rate of one per day in descending order. More on the latter ranking, later.

Yesterday, the preview for the Mississippi State Bulldogs basketball team came out, ranking them 96th in the nation and 9th in the SEC. The author, Joel Welser, has a well educated breakdown of the Bulldogs. However, as you can tell by his ranking, Welser doesn’t think MSU will do much in the upcoming season. I can’t blame his assessment.

With the departures of Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes, leaving the “playing” squad with one senior (a transfer from Louisville who first played for MSU last year), three juniors (one of whom is a Juco transfer), five sophomores (one redshirted his first year), and three freshmen (two attended prep school), Coach Rick Stansbury will spend a lot of time blindly sticking his arm into a mixed bag of tricks during the 08-09 season.

Nothing could better illustrate that Bulldog fans will not know what to expect from their basketball team than the fact that, in contrast to collegehoopsnet, ESPN’s Dick Vitale has ranked Mississippi State #36 in his preseason top 40. Dickie V claims that the Dawgs would be in the top 20 if Gordon had stayed in school.

There’s no doubt that the Bulldogs will be guard/wing heavy and will not be able to survive a significant injury to the nation’s leading shot blocker, Jarvis Varnado, lone senior Brian Johnson, sophomore big Elgin Bailey, or even 6’8″ freshman Romero Osby. Which begs the question, with Charles Rhodes being a senior this past season, and thus, his departure was impending, why is the Bulldog front court set up to be so thin? I suppose the 6’8″, 220 pound Kobi Augustus could play some at the four spot. However, no Bulldog is taller than 6’9″.

There will be plenty of time in the future for preseason analysis and breakdowns, but I just wanted to get down some quick thoughts on how the returning leading scorer for the Bulldogs needs to improve.

Barry Stewart
Personally, I think MSU will be in trouble if Stewart has to play a lot of point, a possibility mentioned in the collegehoopsnet breakdown. But when the other main options are Dee Bost, a freshman, and Riley Bennock, a soph who I’m not sure has the moxie to be an SEC PG (hopefully he proves me wrong), I’m not sure Stansbury will always have much of a choice.

The Bulldogs need Stewart to be a Timmy Bowers type shooter……who did actually backup Derrick Zimmerman at the point at times during his tenure, and started at PG during his 03-04 senior year, when he was supplanted by Gary Ervin off the bench.

Between his freshman and sophomore years, Stewart’s minutes increased by 47.5% to 35.7 per game. He took 12 more 3-pointers, but made six less, dropping his 3P% by 5.8 points to 33.3%. Sure as a frosh, Stewart mostly had to worry about coming off the bench and hovering around the perimeter….evidenced by the fact that 59.6% of his points came from treys in year one versus 47.5% in year two. But why did his sophomore year seem to fall short of expectations? Many theorists would pin blame on the point guard skills of Jamont Gordon. I’ll only say that as great of a player he was, Gordon was not the ideal PG, rather one with whom Stansbury made due.

In terms of Stewart, I’m not as concerned that turnovers per game increased from 0.8 to 2.3, because not only did his minutes go up as mentioned, but he shared a greater responsibility in ball-handling duties as well, resulting from the absence of the Delk twins.

The greatest hope is for Barry to get back the shooting touch which built so many expectations after his All-SEC Freshman 06-07 Bulldog debut. If Stewart can extend defenses, look for opposing zones to become befuddled and those such as Ravern Johnson to have a field day. Hopefully, Barry will be able to improve the consistency of his shooting stroke while rehabilitating the broken ankle which occurred during a pick-up game earlier in the summer.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

MSU Bulldog Basketball Run-Down

Posted by Kyle Weidie on July 17, 2008

Barry Stewart Injury

The MSU junior recently experienced a stress fracture in his ankle from playing pickup ball and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks (he’s evidently in his second week of rehab now). Ankle injuries are never a joke, as I’ve experienced many myself. I’ve always been told that a bad sprain (with ligament issues) is worse than breaking an ankle, but I’m not sure how a stress fracture compares. Of course, Stewart’s injury required surgery, most ankle injuries don’t. Kentucky’s Patrick Patterson had the same injury at the end of last February and missed the rest of the season, including the Wildcat’s first round NCAA tournament loss to six seed Marquette.

This is a pretty significant setback for Barry Stewart, who experienced a down sophomore campaign, especially shooting wise (Stewart’s true shooting % went down eight points from his freshman year). If anything, Stewart will just miss out on pick-up games, but will still be able to hit the weights to increase upper body strength. He’s expected to make a full recovery before practice starts in mid-October, but hopefully he’ll be ready much earlier to go through sanctioned individual workouts preceding official team practices.

To Wear or Not To Wear

Rick Stansbury wants to make sure potential recruits know who the heck he is….or at least who he coaches for, Mississippi State…you damn right. From a recent SI.com college basketball recruiting update:

This year’s winner for best use of a garment as a billboard is Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, who outfitted himself and his assistants in white shirts with the school’s name written in huge maroon letters. The shirts eschewed school initials — MSU also could be Michigan State, Murray State or Morgan State — and logos — a Bulldog could represent Georgia or Gonzaga — to eliminate any confusion. That may seem like a little thing, but not every prospect knows the difference between a Georgia Bulldog and a Mississippi State Bulldog.

Gotta make Mississippi State known and distinguished….we all know about Richard Williams getting upset over ‘Mississippi’ hats when the Bulldogs made it to the Final Four in 1996.

You can also check out what a couple MSM blogs have on Stansbury and summer talk.

Clarion-Ledger MSU Blog – Kyle Veazey
Inside Miss. State Sports – Gregg Ellis

Basketball Schedule?

It’s still being developed…..but word is that the Bulldogs will be taking part in the Legends Classic, which will be played in Newark, New Jersey. Evidently, the top four participants, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, Washington State, and the MSU Bulldogs, will host the first two rounds of games on each of their respective campuses from November 20-23. The finals will be played at the Prudential Center in Newark on November 28-29.

The Bulldogs will also play South Alabama in Starkville on December 13th and Centenary will be coming to the Hump to open their season on November 15th.

What Exactly is a “Fearless” Prediction?

Luke Winn of SI.com is making some “fearless” predictions for the upcoming college basketball season. Mississippi State factors into prediction #19:

If Jamont Gordon can get Raycom on his TV in Europe (or some NBDL outpost), he’ll tune in and realize he could have made Mississippi State the champs of the SEC West … but now, no one in the entire league will really challenge Tennessee.

Posted in mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, sec basketball, SEC Sports, south alabama jaguars, starkville | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

To Upset Calipari’s Tigers, Jamont Gordon Must Have Best Game Ever

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 23, 2008

And I’m talking a LeBron James-like 27 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 3-6 from three, 48% from the field with only 3 turnovers. There is it, plain and simple. Oh yea, find a way to “contain” Derrick Rose as well. Charles Rhodes and early paint intentions are still the key. But to overcome a #1 seed, there is more than one lock so you need more than one key.

This is a quick post….no numbers and no analysis, just a prediction (by the way, Sheridan is giving Mississippi State 9.5 points in USA Today): The Bulldogs pull off the upset 76-75. And I’m off to watch the game….

Check these links:

Charles Rhodes on Joey Dorsey:I really think he’s got to get the better of me in this matchup. He’s a great offensive rebounder. He’s not really an offensive player.” [Kyle Veazey’s Blog]

“Help for Rhodes finally arrives in marksman Stewart” [Rick Cleveland, Clarion-Ledger] – I’m also predicting that the momentum continues for Barry Stewart on offense, sparking even better defense from the sophomore.

Stansbury on Tests: “No one has played close enough to them to see how they play in a pressure situation,” he said in regards to Memphis. “I think that’s our challenge. Can we keep the game close enough that it becomes a close game in the last five minutes? There’s no question we’ve been tested there a lot more than Memphis has.” [Gregg Ellis, NE Miss. Daily Journal]

Mississippi State and Memphis last met on the hardwood in December of 1984.

Posted in Bulldog Basketball, memphis tigers, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa tournament | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Another bag of Charles Rhodes please – Miss. State looks to continue NCAA survival

Posted by Kyle Weidie on March 23, 2008

But to beat the Memphis Tigers, Rick Stansbury will want much more from the supporting cast. Against the Oregon Ducks, Jamont Gordon made a lot happen, but his scoring needs to be sweet for the Bulldogs to reach the round of 16.

But first, speaking of Oregon, here’s the game run-down:

Half Number One

First 5 Minutes: Jamont Gordon started out physical in guarding Malik Hairston while Charles Rhodes set his personal tone early getting a dunk for the game’s first points at the 18:30 mark. Three turnovers came for the Bulldogs in the first three and a quarter minutes, two coming from Ben Hansbrough. Crisp passing wasn’t on the agenda to start, chalk it up to nerves. Oregon shot more threes than I expected, 3-7 in this first segment. Rhodes started off on Oregon’s Maary Leunen, but when Jarvis Varnado was on the Ducks three point wizard, the lane was wide open for a Bryce Taylor layup which gave the Ducks an early 13-6 lead.

The Next 10 Minutes: “Play until you hear the whistle.” Ben Hansbrough is learned in the game of basketball as he got a steal off a near Oregon backcourt violation and sprinted the length of the court for a layup. Meanwhile, Rhodes wasn’t disciplined on defense. In a three possession sequence, Charles fell bad for a Leunen pump fake in the paint – layup; Rhodes got an offensive rebound and put-back off a Barry Stewart miss; and back down the court, Leunen got Charles to bite again with a fake three dribbling into a mid-range jumper, 21-17 Oregon.

Overall, Mississippi State ball movement was slow; Oregon was able to easily react and get in the right position. Abundant Bulldog misses gave the Oregon offense a head start. With a lightening quick 5’6″ point guard in Tajuan Porter, the Ducks pushed the rock to the tune of a 28-20 lead with seven minutes left.

Persistent work in the paint was still the key. Going to Rhodes down low led to a 2nd foul on Maarty Leunen. Having to sit with seven minutes left in the 1st half went towards disrupting his rhythm. On defense, the Bulldogs finally returned to man after a failed experiment with the zone – the result of a minor panic after Oregon hit some long distance buckets early in the game. Varnado’s work in the interior was of utmost importance, one block to this point, but he changed a lot of waddling duck shots. The Dogs did limit their mistakes during this stretch by committing only 2 turnovers – 5 total to Oregon’s 2.

Last Five: Heading into the final five minutes of the first half, Oregon had a 30-23 lead. Rhodes was dominating with 13 points while his teammates totaled 10. Even though the Bulldogs were shooting 38% from the field, I never felt like they were losing control. But Jamont Gordon didn’t help the cause of good vibrations with forcing the issue at times while Ben Hansbrough was doing a bad impression of a catch-and-shoot ball player. Ben, along with Barry Stewart, was added to the amber alert list. The Ducks ended the half with a Porter triple with five seconds left to take a 38-28 lead.

Half Number Two

First 5 Minutes: Jamont Gordon got a charge called against him in the early going, my dad is glad the refs blew the whistle on something that blatant. Oregon stayed firing with the threes, going 1-7 in this first segment. The game announcers relayed to the viewers that Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury said that if the Ducks shot 40% from long distance, the Bulldogs would not win. This struck me as odd as 40% is Oregon’s 3-point average for the season. You’re telling me if Oregon plays their “average” they can’t be beat? Rhodes continued to push with 22 points while his teammates had 12. Despite a sub-par shooting game, Hansbrough provided constant hustle with another steal converted to a layup. The Oregon Ducks were up 43-36 after the first five.

The Next 10 Minutes: The Bulldogs started out this segment like this: A forced Gordon layup miss, a Barry Stewart offensive rebound, a Jamont Gordon ill-advised 3 miss, a Charles Rhodes offensive rebound, and a Barry Stewart 3 miss. The Bulldogs were 0-12 from the 3-point line as Gordon was 2-12 from the field. Something had to give, and it just might be Jamont’s NBA chances if he leaves after this year.

Finally, at the 13 minute mark, Barry Stewart broke the cold long distance ice with a three (assisted by Gordon). The Dawgs were hanging around only down 6, 47-41. On a subsequent play, Jamont Gordon failed to contest a mid-range baseline jumper by Hairston. But Gordon was making the game happen in other areas: picking up 6 assists in a stretch from just under the 14 minute mark to just under the 9 minute mark. Mississippi State continued their push despite a couple calls not going their way leading to a 4th foul on Jarvis Varnado. The frigid shooting of the Ducks became the biggest help, with about 7.5 minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs were shooting 69% for the 2nd half while the Ducks faltered with 28%. Mississippi State would head into the last 5 minutes with a 61-58 lead.

Last Five:
Once Oregon’s threes slowed down, they didn’t have much else in the offensive repertoire. Meanwhile, the plan for the Bulldogs was coming to fruition. Double Charles Rhodes? No problem, that just left Barry Stewart open for a three – he found the right time to rediscover his stroke. Even Jarvis Varnado kept himself in the offensive mix with a great cut to the basket which led to a composed and balanced layup – a nice display of basketball I.Q. – to give MSU a 68-61 lead with 2:15 left.

Overall, Mississippi State had more in their tank down the stretch. With more perseverance, the Dawgs outlasted the Ducks. It also didn’t hurt that Oregon made a 3 at the 19:21 mark of the 2nd half, proceeded to miss 17 in a row, then made one with 14 seconds left when the game was in the bag. In the 2nd half, the Bulldogs weren’t giving up many open looks from long distance. The final tally would have Mississippi State advancing to the 2nd round of the Big Dance with 76, sending the Ducks back to Oregon with 69 – only 1 point off of my 76-68 prediction.

Stat Check:

  • Oregon was close to their season average of 8.7 3s per game with 9 against MSU. However, their season average of attempts was 21.7, they hoisted up 38 threes on this night – 2-21 from deep in the 2nd half after going 7-17 in the1st.
  • Charles Rhodes dominated with 34 and 9.
  • Jamont Gordon finished 2-14 from the field and 4-8 from the FT line, but contributed with 9 assists, 11 rebounds and the “usual” 6 turnovers.
  • Barry Stewart picked up the slack with 16 points on 4-8 from three point land.

Full Box Score

Other Reading:

  • “Rhodes leads MSU past Oregon” [NE Mississippi Daily Journal]
  • With four media timeouts per half, the starters can withstand a lot of minutes: [Bulldog Notebook – NE Mississippi Daily Journal]
  • “Rhodes loudest with a career game” [Clarion-Ledger]
  • “State sticks with starters in 2nd half” [Clarion-Ledger] – On the end of Alltel Arena’s floor closest to the Mississippi State bench, teams were 11-of-24 from the 3-point line. On the end in front of the Oregon bench, teams were 2-of-31. One observer who had watched games all day said the shooting was a trend. The hot-shooting end doesn’t have an upper deck; the cold one does. “We need to play on the one end where it goes in better,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said, laughing.

Posted in charles rhodes, mississippi state bulldogs, ncaa basketball, ncaa tournament, oregon ducks, sec basketball, SEC Sports | 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

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