Mississippi Valley State preview

Gavin Ware is averaging a double-double so far this season (USA Today Sports)

Gavin Ware is averaging a double-double so far this season (USA Today Sports)

Mississippi State goes for its first 3-0 start to the season in three years hosting Mississippi Valley State tonight at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs have knocked off Prairie View A&M and Kennesaw State to start the year and have now won five of the last seven dating back to last season.

MSU is 3-0 all-time against the instate Delta Devils. The two Magnolia State opponents last met on Dec. 28, 2009 in Starkville with the Bulldogs coming out on top 73-45. State is 22-3 all-time against teams from the SWAC.

Mississippi State is coming off a 78-55 win over Kennesaw State last Thursday led by 17 points from sophomore wing Fred Thomas in his season debut. Thomas sat out of the opener serving an NCAA mandated one-game suspension for participating in a charity all-star game this summer.

The Bulldogs are shooting 44.4-percent from the field and averaging 74.5 points per game this year. Rick Ray‘s squad is knocking down 34.3-percent from 3-point range and 58.7-percent from the free throw line. They have outrebounded their opponents by 12 allowing 55.5 points on 41.5-percent shooting.

Thomas leads the Bulldogs in scoring with his 17-point performance in the opener. Sophomore shooting guard Craig Sword is averaging 9.5 points and junior Trivante Bloodman is expected to earn his first start of the year at point guard tonight. Bloodman started every game last season and is adding nine points off the bench this year.

Freshman point guard IJ Ready was strained his hamstring late against Kennesaw State and will miss 2-4 weeks. Redshirt freshman Jacoby Davis made his collegiate debut in that game after missing the entire 2012-13 season with an ACL tear.

Sophomore center Gavin Ware is averaging a double-double so far on the year with 12 points and 12.5 rebounds. Senior forward Colin Borchert is putting up 11 points and pullling down four boards.

MVSU is 1-2 on the year coming off its first victory 108-48 over Champions Baptist College in front of 429 fans at the Leflore Civic Center on Friday.

The Delta Devils dropped an exhibition game to Delta State (78-68) and back-to-back road contests at Oklahoma State (117-62) and Texas A&M (91-67).

Chico Potts‘ squad is shooting 42.4-percent from the floor and scoring 79 points an outing. Mississippi Valley State is shooting 32.3-percent behind the arc and 64-percent from the charity stripe. Their opponents are averaging 85.3 points on 52.4-percent shooting against them.

Junior guard Anthony McDonald (6-1, 180) of Aberdeen leads the Delta Devils with 11.3 points per game. He is joined in the backcourt by junior DeAngelo Priar (6-3, 182) of Tchula scoring eight points  and senior Darryl Marshall (5-11, 167) chipping in 6.7 points.

Freshman forward Daniel Hurtt (6-6, 235) is averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 boards while freshman wing James Currington (6-6, 186) is adding 4.7 points and five rebounds.

Tonight’s game will not be televised but can be seen on HailStateTV. Jim Ellis and Bart Gregory will be on the call on the MSU Radio Network.

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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