December 5, 2008

Alabama State hoops preview

Mississippi State will return to the ever-friendly confines of Humphrey Coliseum today in search of a win to end a two game losing skid.

Standing in their way will be a 1-4 Alabama State squad.

The Bulldogs took a 5-0 record into the championship rounds of the Legends Classic last weekend in Newark, N.J. but back-to-back losses to Washington State and Texas Tech left head coach Rick Stansbury with plenty to point out to his young squad this week in practice.

"I think it was a learning experience for everybody," Stansbury said. "I saw some guys that fought harder and did some things better. But again, doing it better and doing it exactly right every trip is the difference between winning and losing in particularly on the road."

MSU is averaging 77.4 points per game and are surrendering only 62 points to their opponents. The Bulldogs are shooting 46-percent from the field on their year as well as 38.8-percent from behind the arc and 67.8-percent from the free throw line. State is also outrebounding their opponents by eight per game.

Swingman Ravern Johnson now leads the Bulldogs in scoring averaging 11.1 points per game. Shooting guard Barry Stewart is putting up 10.9 points per contest while point guard [Dee Bost[/db] adds on average of 9.4 points and five assists a game.

Forward Kodi Augustus is scoring 8.9 points and pulling down 6.1 rebounds per contest for Mississippi State.

Center Jarvis Varnado averages a double-double per game with 10.4 points and 11.3 rebounds as well as recording 6.4 blocks. Varnado is now only five blocks shy of moving into sixth place in the all-time Southeastern Conference list past Florida's Dwayne Schintzius (1986-90).

State's top reserves are forward Romero Osby averaging 7.9 points and four rebounds per game along with guard Twany Beckham with 4.3 points off the bench.

The Bulldogs have only faced Alabama State once in school history coming away with a 76-58 win in 2006 at home. MSU sports a 15-2 all-time record against schools from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

The Hornets, coached by Lewis Jackson, are coming off a 80-51 loss at Nebraska on Wednesday.

Alabama State is scoring on average of 62.2 points per game and give up 71 to their opponents this season. The Hornets are shooting 41.5-percent from the floor but only 26.7-percent from 3-point land and 63-percent from the charity stripe.

Alabama State is led by senior guard Brandon Brooks (6-2, 180) with 12.4 points and 6.4 assists per game. Fellow senior guard Andrew Hayles (6-5, 195) is second on the team in scoring with 10.6 points per outing.

Senior forward Rashad Provitt (6-7, 205) puts up on average of 7.8 points and 4.6 boards per game along with junior forward Byron Walker with 4.6 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.

The Hornets have a gigantic senior center in Chief Kickingstallionsims (7-1, 265). Kickingstallionsims is averaging 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Alabama State's top players off the bench are sophomore forward Roland Fitch (6-7, 240) with a six point average and freshman guard Ivory White (6-4, 175) who puts up 5.4 points.

Tipoff is scheduled for noon.


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