The buzz word after Mississippi State’s 70-56 win at Arkansas was “poise,” because the young Bulldogs showed plenty of it. For a team so lacking in senior leadership, it was mildly surprising to see them not get rattled at Bud Walton Arena. Dee Bost, the freshman point guard, was indeed calm and collected en route to his 17-point performance, and his improved play has been key in MSU’s recent surge.
But, of course, we can’t forget about Barry Stewart. The junior shooting guard has suddenly found the stroke that eluded him for most of the non-SEC schedule. After last Saturday’s win over Houston, Stewart was shooting 35.1 percent from the field, 30.3 percent from 3-point range, and was averaging 10.1 points per game. But the last two games, against Western Kentucky and Arkansas, Stew has hit 64.7 percent of his shots, including 70 percent (7 of 10) from downtown, with a 17.5-point average.
So, for the season, he’s now shooting 38.5 percent, including 35.5 from 3-point land, and averaging 11.0 ppg.
“He’s gotten good shots,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “I think early, if you look at his shots, a lot of forced shots. Now he’s getting better shots, and Dee’s doing a better job getting him the ball.”
I went back and listened to the postgame tape, and was surprised to discover that Stewart was not asked specifically about his recent play, at least not while I was listening in. If he keeps it up, though, I expect those questions will come.