Mississippi State looks to keep rolling vs. downtrodden LSU


While Mississippi State is starting to turn its season around, LSU is still struggling but is coming off an encouraging performance ahead of its meeting with the Bulldogs on Wednesday night in Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State (15-8, 3-7 Southeastern Conference) won its third straight game when it defeated visiting Missouri 63-52 on Saturday. The Bulldogs never trailed in the game and leading scorer Tolu Smith paced them with 25 points.

Coach Chris Jans credited his players for their resilience during a stretch of eight losses in nine games that preceded the winning streak.

“They kept working,” Jans said of his players. “They didn’t start pointing fingers. They didn’t listen to any noise. I think it’s a testament to who these guys are, how they feel about one another, hopefully a belief in what we’re trying to do. …

“I was as proud as I’ve been in a team in a long, long time. Because it was hard. I kept telling them we’re a good basketball team. I don’t care what the ‘in a row’ is. We’re a good basketball team. And I think we’re gonna get a chance to show it if we stick together, block the noise out, keep working. And they did that.”

LSU (12-11, 1-9) lost its 10th straight game when it fell 79-69 to then-No. 4 Alabama at home on Saturday.

The Tigers, who lost by 40 points to the Crimson Tide three weeks earlier, never trailed by more than 12 points and got within two points three times in the second half.

Derek Fountain had a career-high 26 points — topping the 20 he had against LSU when he played for Mississippi State two seasons ago.

“Tired of losing,” Fountain said. “We just came out to play hard, play harder, or whatever. But that’s just been our mindset, we’ve just been trying to stop the bleeding, stop the losing.”

The Tigers committed just eight turnovers against the Crimson Tide. They outrebounded Alabama 40-35, including 13-4 in offensive rebounds, which produced just a 6-4 edge in second-chance points.

“You’d like that number to be over a point per offensive rebound, certainly,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said of the team’s second-chance points.

–Field Level Media

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