Florida A&M preview

IJ Ready returned to the starting lineup last Friday. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

IJ Ready returned to the starting lineup last Friday. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Mississippi State returns to Humphrey Coliseum to play two games in three days before hitting the road for the Las Vegas Classic.

The Bulldogs host Florida A&M at 7 p.m. tonight and welcome Florida Gulf Coast to Starkville on Thursday.

MSU is off to a 6-2 start to the season and have already surpassed last year’s non-conference win total of five. The Bulldogs are coming off a 68-62 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in Tupelo on Friday behind 22 points from sophomore shooting guard Craig Sword.

State is 2-0 all-time against Florida A&M with both games played in Starkville. The Bulldogs won 92-55 during the 2001-02 season followed by a 104-80 victory on Dec. 20, 2004. Lawrence Roberts and Winsome Frazier helped lead the Bulldogs to victory in the last outing scoring 25 and 24 points respectively.

Mississippi State is 5-0 all-time against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Rick Ray’s squad is shooting 46.7-percent from the field and averaging 70.4 points. MSU is making 30-percent of its shots from 3-point range and 61.1-percent from the free throw line. The Bulldogs have outrebounded their opponents by 1.8 a game allowing 65.4 points on 43.4-percent shooting.

Sword continues to pace State with 15.3 points per game and is fifth in the Southeastern Conference with 1.9 steals. In his last three outings, Sword is 26-of-35 shooting with 13 rebounds, 10 steals, six assists and 70 points.

Sword is joined in the backcourt by true freshman point guard I.J. Ready scoring 6.3 points and dishing out three assists while redshirt freshman wing Dre Applewhite is adding 5.5 points.

Sophomore center Gavin Ware is putting up 11 points and pulling down 8.8 rebounds while junior forward Roquez Johnson is contributing 10.4 points and 4.9 boards.

Florida A&M is 2-7 on the year with all seven losses coming on the road. The Rattlers have dropped two straight with their last loss coming 72-62 to Hampton on Saturday.

Former Florida A&M standout and NBA World Champion with the Philadelphia 76ers Clemon Johnson is the Rattlers head coach. Johnson’s club is shooting 41.3-percent from the floor and scoring 73.3 points per game. Florida A&M knocks down 34.4-percent from the outside and 64.4-percent from the charity stripe. Their opposition is scoring 78.2 points on 44.1-percent shooting.

Senior guard Jamie Adams (5-10, 166) leads the Rattlers with 17.9 points. Adams is accompanied in the backcourt by fellow senior Reggie Lewis (6-2, 200) averaging 11.9 points and junior D’Andre Bullard (6-4, 185) chipping in 2.8 points.

Lewis paced Florida A&M with 19 points in its last game against Hampton.

Sophomore forward Trey Kellum (6-6, 205) is putting up 7.3 points and grabbing 5.7 boards while junior forward Bobby King (6-7, 220) is averaging 5.1 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Tonight’s game will not be televised but can be heard on the Bulldog Basketball 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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