Maryland Eastern Shore preview

Colin Borchert and the Bulldogs are one win shy of their total from last season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Colin Borchert and the Bulldogs are one win shy of their total from last season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State will get one final non-conference tune-up before entering Southeastern Conference play.

The Bulldogs will host Maryland Eastern Shore tonight before beginning their league schedule at Kentucky next week.

It will be the first ever meeting between MSU and the Rams on the hardwood.

The Bulldogs do hold a 6-0 record against teams from the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference. State claimed a 78-65 victory over Florida A&M earlier this season.

Rick Ray’s squad is 9-3 on the year and one win shy of its total from 2012-13. The Bulldogs are coming off an 82-66 loss to UNLV in the Las Vegas Classic championship game on Dec. 23, which snapped a four-game winning streak.

Mississippi State is shooting 46-percent from the floor and averaging 70.3 points. The Bulldogs have hit 29.4-percent of their shots from the outside and 63.5-percent from the free throw line. They lead the SEC and are 11th nationally with 9.8 steals per game. Their opponents are scoring 65.8 points on 42.8-percent shooting.

Sophomore shooting guard Craig Sword continues to lead MSU with 15.3 points a contest. Sword has scored in double digits in 11 straight games including 18 points in the Bulldogs last outing against UNLV.

Sophomore wing Fred Thomas adding 8.1 points and freshman point guard I.J. Ready contributing 6.6 point and 3.3 assists. Thomas will rejoin the starting five following the transfer of redshirt freshman Dre Applewhite.

Sophomore center Gavin Ware is putting up 10.4 points and pulling down 8.3 rebounds while senior forward Colin Borchert is scoring 9.1 points and grabbing 4.1 boards.

Maryland Eastern Shore is just 2-9 on the year having lost seven straight. The Rams are 0-7 on the road this season after falling 82-66 at Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

UMES has not faced an SEC opponent in over a decade. The Rams lost 86-61 to Auburn on Nov. 23, 2003.

Frankie Allen’s team is shooting 37.7-percent from the field and scoring 64.5 points. Maryland Eastern Shore is knocking down 27.9-percent behind the arc and 68.7-percent from the charity stripe. The Rams opposition is averaging 75.8 points on 47.2-percent shooting.

Junior guard KyRee Jones (6-2, 200) leads UMES with 16.2 points and has scored over 15 points in the last six games. Jones is joined in the backcourt by juniors Issac Smith III (6-1, 170) and Ishaq Pitt (6-3, 210) scoring eight and 4.3 points respectively.

Senior forward Troy Snyder (6-6, 215) is putting up 8.4 points and grabbing 5.2 rebounds while Nigerian senior center Francis Ezeiru (6-10, 260) is chipping in 6.6 points and 6.1 boards.

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

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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