Hoops: MSU 80, Florida 71

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Senior Night didn’t see any seniors – well, Christopher Gay and Brian Johnson “played” the game’s final 6 seconds – but Mississippi State got a big win over Florida tonight in front of a sparse, but throaty, crowd of 6,151. Ravern Johnson scored 15 points, Jarvis Varnado had 13, and Barry Stewart added 12 for the Bulldogs (18-12, 8-7 SEC). Ten different Bulldogs got in the scoring column for State, and its bench totaled 26 points one game after getting shut out. Florida (21-9, 8-7) was led by Walter Hodge‘s 20 points.

MSU shot 50.9 percent from the floor, including 50.0 percent (10 of 20) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Gators, 38-34. Florida hit 44.6 percent of its shots and 28.0 percent (7 of 25) from deep.

The win did not come without a high price. Reserve center Elgin Bailey was lost to a severely dislocated ankle that he suffered with 8:17 left in the game. The sophomore finished the game with six points, four rebounds and two steals. He made his way to a chair in the corner of the arena to watch the last minute of the game, drawing cheers from the crowd.

State snapped a three-game losing streak and a skid that saw it lose five out of six games. The regular-season finale is 4 p.m. Saturday at Ole Miss.

Now some reaction, starting with MSU coach Rick Stansbury:

• “The thing tonight I thought our kids did, we played with some emotion, and we played with great effort. When you do all that, sometimes it clears the mind of the cobwebs.”

• On reserve Kodi Augustus (9 points, 3 boards, 15 minutes): “I thought he played hard tonight. I thought he was bouncing around, moving, he did some things tonight that we anticipated Kodi doing a long time ago.”

• On losing Bailey: “It’s a major factor for us. Because he is a big, physical guy, and he was playing (well) tonight.”

• On limiting Nick Calathes to 11 points: “For the most part, we kept him from creating a whole lot of baskets for everybody else, and in turn, I thought we did a good job on him defensively.”

• On being 8-7 in the SEC: “You’ve got eight wins in the SEC now; that’s not always easy to to. Sometimes we think that because we got off to such a great start and we stumble, that this team still hasn’t accomplished some things. I’m proud of them.”

From Stewart:

• On postseason possibilities: “It’s just getting down to the wire. A lot of people think we might not be in the postseason, but we keep winning and taking it a game at a time, I think we’ll be all right.”

From Varnado:

• “If we come together like this, we’ll be really hard to beat.”

From Johnson:

• “I’ve been thinking about my shot a lot, been trying to figure out what I’ve been doing wrong. I just came out tonight not worrying about that and just shot the ball.”

From Florida coach Billy Donovan:

• On the difference in the game: “I thought their 3-point shooting and our 3-point shooting was probably the biggest difference in the game.”

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One Response to “Hoops: MSU 80, Florida 71”

  1. imabulldog Says:

    Let’s just hope they bring it’ and play together like they did last night for the rest of the yr, wherever that takes us…

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