St. Louis preview

Senior walk-on Jeffery Johnson has appeared in one game for the Bulldogs. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Senior walk-on Jeffery Johnson has appeared in one game for the Bulldogs. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Mississippi State will take its perfect 4-0 record away from Humphrey Coliseum for the first time today taking on St. Louis in the opening round of the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic in Texas.

Tipoff is slated for 8:35 p.m.

The Bulldogs are searching for their 20th regular season tournament title and hold a 88-77 record all-time in those tournaments. MSU will play either Bradley or TCU in the second round of the tournament on Saturday.

Tonight is just the second meeting between the two programs with the Billikens claiming a 63-46 victory on Dec. 9, 1950 in St. Louis.

MSU is 10-6 all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Tonight’s matchup will pit Bulldogs assistant coach Chris Hollender against his former coach at Evansville Jim Crews. Hollender also spent seven years on Crews’ staff at Army.

State is coming off a 59-46 home victory over Clayton State on Monday led by 15 points and eight rebounds from senior forward Roquez Johnson.

Rick Ray‘s roster is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and averaging 71.2 points per game. The Bulldogs are hitting 26.1 percent from 3-point range and 74 percent from the charity stripe. Mississippi State has outrebounded their opponents by 16 allowing 61 points on 38.2 percent shooting.

Johnson paces the Bulldogs with 16.5 points while adding 5.5 rebounds. Junior forward Gavin Ware is putting up 14 points and pulling down 8.3 boards.

Junior shooting guard Fred Thomas leads the backcourt with 13 points while senior point guard Trivante Bloodman is scoring 9.5 points and is dishing out 5.3 assists. Junior wing Travis Daniels is chipping in 5.3 points.

St. Louis is fresh off an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season and is off to a 3-1 start this year.

The Billikens rallied from a 10-point deficit to down North Carolina A&T 57-54 on Tuesday behind a career-high 19 points from freshman guard Miles Reynolds (6-2, 170). St. Louis’ only loss was to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 62-56 at home last Sunday.

Crews’ crew is shooting 38.2 percent from the floor and scoring 61 points an outing. The Billikens are knocking down 38.2 percent from the perimeter as well and 69.8 from the free throw line. St. Louis has outrebounded their opposition by 2.5 and are surrendering 57.8 points on 40.4 percent shooting.

Former NBA standout Calbert Chaney is an assistant coach for St. Louis.

Junior guard Austin McBroom (5-9, 165), a transfer from Central Michigan, leads the Billikens with 13 points per game. McBroom is joined in the backcourt by Villanova transfer Ash Yacoubou (6-4, 210, junior) scoring 11.5 points and freshman Davell Roby (6-4, 200) chipping in 2.5.

Freshman center Austin Gillmann (6-10, 210) is putting up 2.8 points and grabbing 1.8 rebounds while sophomore forward Reggie Agbeko (6-7, 240) is contributing 1.5 points and four boards.

Tonight’s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network with Sean Grande and Bob Wenzel 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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