Utah State preview

Tyson Cunningham scored a season-high four points off the bench in his last game. (Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)

Tyson Cunningham scored a season-high four points off the bench in his last game. (Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)

Undefeated Mississippi State ventures out onto the road for the first time this season.

The Bulldogs traveled over 1,700 for their first away test taking on Utah State at 8 p.m. CT tonight.

MSU is looking to start off the season 4-0 for the first time since 2010-11. The road was not kind to the Bulldogs last season going just 3-15 away from Humphrey Coliseum and just 1-11 in true road games.

Tonight will mark just the second meeting between the two programs on the hardwood. Mississippi State held off the Aggies 66-64 in Starkville on Dec. 31, 2011. No current Bulldogs participated in that contest. Dee Bost clinched the game for the then 15th ranked Bulldogs with a pair of free throws with 34-seconds remaining.

MSU owns a 4-4 record all-time against the Mountain West Conference. Tonight will be the first time a Southeastern Conference opponent has visited Logan since Georgia won there 99-74 on Dec. 18, 1985.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 94-72 victory over Mississippi Valley State at home on Tuesday. Sophomore center Gavin Ware led Mississippi State with a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double in three games this year.

Rick Ray’s roster is shooting 47.1-percent from the field and scoring 81 points per game. The Bulldogs are draining 34.7-percent of their shots from the outside and 63-percent from the free throw line. MSU has also out-rebounded their opponents by 12.7 and currently lead the conference with 11 steals. Their opposition is averaging 61 points on 43.8-percent shooting.

Ware leads the team with a double-double average of 15.7 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophomore wing Fred Thomas is scoring 12.5 points and fellow sophomore shooting guard Craig Sword is adding 9.7 points. Junior point guard Trivante Bloodman is chipping in 8.7 points, 2.3 assists and his two steals per game rank fifth in the SEC.

Senior forward Colin Borchert is putting up 12 points and pulling down four boards for the Bulldogs.

Utah State is also 3-0 on the year so something will have to give tonight for one of the teams. The Aggies received a vote in the USA Today/ Coaches’ Top 25 Poll and are off to their best start in six years.

Stew Morrill’s squad defeated USC, Southern Utah and UC-Santa Barbara as well as won two exhibition games to start the year. Utah State won 71-64 on the road at UC-Santa Barbara a week ago. The Aggies received 18 points from senior guard Preston Medlin (6-4, 185), including four 3-pointers.

Utah State is 5-3 all-time against teams from Mississippi and 5-12 against schools that currently make up the SEC. Morrill is 0-3 against SEC opponents.

The Aggies are shooting 49.4-percent from the floor and averaging 79.7 points per game. Utah State is knocking down 46-percent of its shots behind the arc and 76.3-percent from the charity stripe. They have outrebounded their opponents by 11.3 allowing 62 points on 38.1-percent shooting.

The starting five for the Aggies features four seniors. Center Jarred Shaw (6-10, 235) leads the team with 15 points and 7.7 rebounds.

Medlin paces the backcourt with 13.7 points and scored 15 against the Bulldogs in the lone previous meeting. Spencer Butterfield (6-3, 205) adds 13 points while TeNale Roland (6-0, 170) is contributing 8.7 points.

Sophomore forward Kyle Davis (6-7, 225) is the lone underclassman in the starting lineup scoring 6.3 points and grabbing 4.7 boards.

Tonight’s game will not be televised but can be streamed online at www.UtahStateAggies.com/videos. It can also be heard 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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