Sat, 21 May 2022

Ole Miss shooting for season sweep of Mississippi State

Field Level Media
22 Jan 2022, 06:40 GMT+10

Ole Miss has lost five of its last six games. Beating rival Mississippi State on Jan. 8 was the exception.

The Rebels will go for the season sweep while the host Bulldogs will attempt to even the score when they meet in Southeastern Conference action Saturday afternoon in Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State (12-5, 3-2 SEC) is coming off a disappointing 80-72 loss at Florida on Wednesday.

Through 20 minutes, MSU did all the right things, resulting in a 41-35 halftime lead against the Gators.

The Bulldogs had staked out the paint as their territory and top point-producer Iverson Molinar -- with 10 in the half -- was on his way to another night of great offense.

But after holding an 18-6 edge in points inside, MSU ran out of steam late in the second half. The Bulldogs made just one basket during a decisive 6:17 span. Molinar had only one bucket down the stretch, a meaningless jumper in the last minute.

"We did not do a good job in the last eight minutes of this game. We've got to get better at understanding the time and score," Bulldogs coach Ben Howland said of the feeble finish.

The latest setback for Ole Miss (9-8, 1-4) was a lopsided 78-53 home loss against Missouri on Tuesday.

Rebels coach Kermit Davis questioned the heart and focus of his squad after the game.

"Our team was very disappointing and embarrassing. We kind of lost our identity," he told the Ole Miss Network.

The Rebels should look at what worked against the Bulldogs in their 82-72 home win earlier this month.

In that one, the Rebels shot 50.9 percent from the field and drained 11 of 23 3-pointers (47.8 percent), while MSU shot 44.1 percent overall and missed 13 of its 16 attempts from long distance.

Matthew Murrell led Ole Miss with a career-high 31 points and Daeshun Ruffin added 17 points, a career-high eight assists and four steals. The Rebels scored 50 points in the first half -- its most in an SEC game since scoring 51 against the Bulldogs on Jan. 31, 2017.

Mississippi State has a 146-119 advantage in the long-running series, but Ole Miss has won 12 of the last 17 games.

--Field Level Media

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