Mississippi State came to Jackson and the Mississippi Coliseum on a seven game winning streak, and Saturday’s tussle with a 6-6 Wright State team seemed like a foregone conclusion. Rather than an easy win, the Bulldogs had to work hard to hold off a game Raiders squad, landing a 67-63 win in front of 3021 fans. It took a great effort from Bulldog seniors Quinndary Weatherspoon and Aric Holman, who combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds, to get the victory against Wright State, who hit 8 three pointers in the second half to fuel their comeback.
INJURY CHANGED THINGS FOR MSU
Coach Howland is here, "Very difficult game tonight." Says they prepared for this game with expectations of Wright State's big man to play, he got hurt in warmups and sat out.
— Brian Hadad (@brianhadad) December 23, 2018
Wright State lost their center, Loudon Love, was ruled out during shootaround, costing the Raiders their post presence and 14 points per game, but for MSU, it completely changed their gameplan, which had been predicated on stopping Love in the paint. Coach Ben Howland said that losing Love forced Wright State to alter what they would normally do offensively, and made them more of a perimeter team than he had anticipated. The Raiders really found their groove in the second half, hitting 8-15 from behind the line while erasing a 14 point Bulldog lead. The game was tied at the 5:56 mark at 55, and it took MSU battling the entire final stretch to come away with the win.
— Mississippi State Basketball (@HailStateMBK) December 23, 2018
In a game where things don’t go according to plan, you have to be able to rely on your seniors to carry you through. MSU got that tonight from Aric Holman and Quinndary Weatherspoon. Holman had a tremendous all-around day, scoring 12 points to go with 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 steals. Weatherspoon added 14 points and 6 boards, and played tough defense as the Bulldogs looked to close down the Raider perimeter shooters. On a night where Nick Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters didn’t provide their usual punch, the Bulldog seniors carried this team to victory.
— BYU Basketball (@BYUbasketball) December 23, 2018
BYU lost a 90-81 decision to San Diego State on Saturday, dropping the Cougars to 8-6 on the season. Currently BYU sits at 108 in the NCAA Net Rankings, so that would be a game that MSU wouldn’t want to have on its resume as the dreaded “bad loss” come March Madness time. State’s final non-conference game of the season will be at The Hump Saturday December 29, tip off at 11 AM.
We’ll talk about this game in more detail on Monday’s Thunder & Lightning Christmas Spectacular, and what it means for the Bulldogs to be able to grind wins when they aren’t at their best. Talk to you Monday morning.
Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics