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Mississippi State Takes Another Tough Loss, Drops 71-67 Decision to Kentucky

For the second time in four games, Mississippi State found themselves in a double digit hole going into the half. For the second time in four games, MSU was unable to dig out of that deficit, as a 19-2 run in the second half was not enough to ever get over the top against Kentucky, who claimed a 71-67 win over the Bulldogs at the Humphrey Coliseum. The Wildcats led by as many as 18 in the second half before the Bulldogs went on that run, holding Kentucky scoreless for over 7 minutes at one point. Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 16 points, and Quinndary Weatherspoon added 14, all of which came in the second half.


This, to me, was the play of the game. State plays a great defensive sequence and forces Kentucky freshman Tyler Herro into an off balance three as the shot clock is expiring, and he drains it, pushing the Kentucky lead back to seven. State was able to get within a single point of Kentucky in the second half, but were never able to get the lead at any point. Kentucky just continued to find a way to make big shots and keep possessions alive.


On Wednesday, Robert Woodard’s absence in the second half of MSU’s overtime loss to LSU set off a major meltdown on social media and Bulldog message boards. Today, the freshman wing proved his worth, as he got major minutes and delivered 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, along with the kind of energy the Bulldogs seem to lack at times. On a day where his fellow freshman Reggie Perry was plagued with foul trouble, Woodard kept the Bulldog ship afloat in the final 20 minutes. Woodard’s role should continue to grow for MSU, and could reach a point where Coach Ben Howland might have to decide to play a smaller lineup just to keep Woodard on the court for more minutes.


Mississippi State will take on Alabama Tuesday night at the Humphrey Coliseum, a rematch from less than two week’s ago, that saw the Crimson Tide hammer the Bulldogs in the paint en route to a 83-79 win, a game that followed much the same pattern as today’s. The Tide got out to a large lead and had to hold off a furious Bulldog rally to take home the victory. For State, Coach Howland said about Tuesday’s match up “We need to win our next game, you definitely can say that.” With road games against Tennessee and Auburn looming at the beginning of March, State has to win all of the other remaining contests on the schedule to finish above .500 in the SEC. The NET rankings still like the Bulldogs, but they are going to have to start stacking up some wins at some point if they want to avoid being on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.

We’ll cover this and much more on the Thunder & Lightning Podcast, and on Monday’s edition of SportsTalk Mississippi.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics

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