Bulldogs hammer the Rebels behind stifling defense
If you could go back to November and tell Ben Howland that his team would finish 4th in the SEC and grab a double bye in the SEC Tournament, he’d have felt very confident that not only was his Mississippi State team comfortably in the NCAA Tournament, but would likely be a pretty high seed. Some unexpected non-conference losses combined with the overall weakness of the SEC have the Bulldogs on the outside looking in as the regular season comes to a close. The Bulldogs made their final statement before the postseason on Saturday, as they ran their in-state rivals from Ole Miss up and down the Humphrey Coliseum court, taking a 69-44 win over the Rebels.
PERRY PUNISHES REBELS
That stare down 👀 pic.twitter.com/zj5fUVPanb
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 8, 2020
Ole Miss had no answer for Reggie Perry, as he dominated the undersized Rebel front court early and often. Perry finished the night with 22 points and 14 rebounds, his 17th double double of the season. Ole Miss tried a variety of defenders on Perry, but nobody had success. State scored 30 of their points in the paint on Saturday, where the Rebels only had 16.
Breein Tyree dominated Mississippi State in the first meeting in Oxford, torching the Bulldogs for 40 points. Ben Howland made an adjustment for today’s game, deciding to double team Tyree off ball screens with Abdul Ado, and that change gave Tyree’s worst game of the season. Tyree was 4-13 shooting for only 11 points, and had three turnovers. Nick Weatherspoon, who played what he called the worst game of his life in Oxford, had 11 points, 6 assists and zero turnovers as he hounded Tyree on the defensive end. State’s defense is what failed them in Oxford, today it led them, as they held the Rebels to 29.4% shooting.
— Craig Pinkerton (@SEC_Craig) March 8, 2020
Mississippi State will enjoy a double bye, not having to play until Friday as a result of their fourth place finish in the conference. They will take on the winner of Florida/Georgia vs. Ole Miss at 2:30 PM, so its possible the Bulldogs could go another round with their rivals. State probably needs at least two wins to get back into the conversation for an at-large berth, and their path would include a win over Kentucky should they get to Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics