For the first time in his coaching career, Rick Ray has a winning record with Mississippi State’s 71-56 season opening victory over Prairie View A&M on Friday.
Ray and the Bulldogs go for win No. 2 tonight hosting Kennesaw State at 7 p.m.
It is the first ever meeting between the two programs on the hardwood. MSU does hold a 10-3 record all-time against Atlantic Sun opponents.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the opener and shot 42.3-percent from the field. State shot 33.3-percent from the outside and 61.9-percent from the charity stripe. They outrebounded the Panthers by 24 allowing 40.3-percent shooting.
Sophomore center Gavin Ware paced State with a 15 point, 15 rebound performance while senior forward Colin Borchert put up seven points and pulled down four boards.
Freshman point guard I.J. Ready scored 14 points in his collegiate debut while sophomore shooting guard Craig Sword added six points. Sophomore wing Fred Thomas sat out of the opener serving a one-game suspension from the NCAA for participating in a charity game over the summer but will return tonight.
Tonight will be the first road outing of the year for Kennesaw State. The Owls are 1-3 on the year winning their first game of the season Monday night 92-48 at home over Division II foe Warren Wilson.
Lewis Preston’s squad is averaging 66.8 points on 40.3-percent shooting this season. KSU is hitting 31.6-percent behind the arc and 66.7-percent from the free throw line. The Owls have outrebounded their opponents by 3.5 allowing 63.8 points and 39.9-percent shooting per game.
Junior guard Delbert Love (6-0, 185) leads Kennesaw State scoring 15 points per game.
Sophomore forward Orlando Coleman (6-5, 195) is also scoring in double figures with 10.5 points and tops the team with seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Nigel Pruitt (6-7, 180) is adding 8.3 points and three boards and senior forward Andrew Osemhen (6-9, 270) is chipping in three points and five rebounds.
Sophomore center and Auburn transfer Willy Kouassi (6-10, 230) is putting up 5.5 points and grabbing 3.5 boards.
Tonight’s game will not be televised but can be heard on the MSU Radio Network with Jim Ellis and Bart Gregory on the call.