Mississippi State is looking to start the season off 3-0 for the second straight year.
However, standing in the way will be 3-0 Utah State. The two teams will conclude the final game of a three-game contract today at noon.
The two teams have split the previous two meetings with MSU winning 66-64 in Starkville on New Year’s Eve in 2011 while the Aggies claimed an 87-68 win in Logan last year.
No players that started for Utah State in last year’s outing return on this year’s roster. Bulldogs junior forward Gavin Ware posted a double-double against the Aggies with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
State is 4-6 all-time against teams from the Mountain West Conference.
The Bulldogs are coming off an 89-68 home win over Mississippi Valley State on Monday led by a career-high 20 points from senior forward Roquez Johnson.
Rick Ray‘s team is shooting 53.9 percent from the floor and averaging 77.5 points per game. Mississippi State is draining 33.3 percent of its shots from 3-point range and 73.9 percent from the free throw line. The Bulldogs have outrebounded their opponents by 17. Their opposition is scoring 62 points against them on 35.7 percent shooting.
Johnson leads MSU and ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring with 18 points and is also adding five rebounds. Ware is putting up 16.5 points and grabbing nine boards.
Junior shooting guard Fred Thomas has scored over 15 points in his last five outings and shooting 14-of-28 from the perimeter during that span. Thomas’ 16 points paces the backcourt that also includes senior point guard Trivante Bloodman, who is adding nine points and 6.5 assists.
Junior wing Travis Daniels is chipping in six points and 3.5 rebounds.
Returning starters Craig Sword and I.J. Ready will miss today’s game while still recovering from offseason back surgery.
Utah State is coming off a 60-54 comeback win over Santa Clara at home on Wednesday. Sophomore forward Jalen Moore (6-8, 215) paced the Aggies with 15 points in that contest.
Stew Morrill is in his 17th season at Utah State and has 605 career victories.
Utah State is shooting 41.8 percent from the field and is scoring 64 points. The Aggies are knocking down 34.6 percent from the outside and 63.9 percent from the charity stripe. Their opponents are scoring 56.7 points on 35.7 percent shooting.
Redshirt freshman forward David Collette (6-8, 220) leads Utah State with 16 points and 4.7 rebounds. Moore is close behind averaging 14.3 points and grabbing 7.7 boards.
Junior Darius Perkins (6-1, 200) tops the backcourt with 9.7 points. Junior guard Chris Smith (6-4, 210) is adding nine points while sophomore JoJo McGlaston (6-5, 185) is contributing seven points.
Today’s game can be streamed at SEC Network + with Bart Gregory and Matt Wyatt on the call.