Mississippi State looks to continue its impressive start in SEC play and visiting Texas A&M hopes to overcome its early conference difficulties when the teams play on Wednesday in Starkville, Miss.
The Bulldogs (8-4, 3-1 SEC) received a scare at Vanderbilt on Saturday while holding on to beat the Commodores 84-81 for their eighth win in the last 10 games.
Texas A&M (6-4, 1-3) is coming off a 68-54 loss at home against No. 9 Tennessee on Saturday using a different starting lineup for the first time as coach Buzz Williams continues to try to find the right combinations.
“They completely understand where our struggles are and where we are deficient as a team,” Williams said. “A credit to our guys and their parents is that they are accepting of where they struggle, and they know what we need to do to improvement.”
Williams pointed out that his team’s rebounding improved as it outrebounded the Vols 31-23. Jonathan Aku and Emanuel Miller tied for the team lead with four rebounds apiece.
Savion Flagg led the Aggies with 12 points, which included a season-high four 3-pointers. He has 40 games in his career with 10 or more points.
“Our biggest key on the offensive end is to avoid turning the ball over,” Flagg said of the Aggies’ 15 turnovers that led to 18 points for Tennessee. “We only had more shots than them tonight because of our ability to win on the offensive glass (14 on that end). If we didn’t crash the offensive glass like we did, with our turnover rate being so high, it could have been a way worse.”
Mississippi State’s Iverson Molinar is the reigning SEC Player of the Week after his career-high totals in scoring (24 points), rebounding (eight) and steals (four) in the Bulldogs’ win at Vanderbilt.
The Bulldogs are particularly impressive inside with 6-foot-11 Abdul Ado and 6-10 Tolu Smith. They were a main reasons why Mississippi State outscored Vanderbilt 42-18 in the paint
“We’re always trying to score in the paint because of our size,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. “We have a lot of guys that are good in the paint – pull-up jumpers and with shots at the rim. I thought Tolu (7 of 8 from the field against Vanderbilt) was really good and patient offensively in terms of getting it down low and taking his time.”
–Field Level Media