State falls to TCU in Corpus Christi Classic finale

Rick Ray

Rick Ray

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A tough night offensively led to the end of Mississippi State’s season-opening win streak in men’s basketball Saturday night.

Mississippi State dropped a 61-52 decision to TCU in the championship game of the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic. The Bulldogs lost for the first time after opening the season with five straight wins.

Fred Thomas led the Bulldogs with 14 points. Thomas finished 5-of-10 from the field, including a 3-of-6 night from 3-point range. Trivante Bloodman and Gavin Ware were also in double figures with 11 points apiece.

“At the end of the day, college basketball is a possession by possession grind it out game,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “(Friday night’s 75-50 win over St. Louis) is an abnormality. We can’t have the mistakes we made tonight and win grind it out type games.”

MSU started cold. The Bulldogs managed one field goal over the first seven minutes of play. Yet, MSU erased a 7-2 deficit by scoring the game’s next six points. The lead went back and forth several times with the Bulldogs going ahead 19-17 on an I.J. Ready layup with 3:30 left in the half.

From there, MSU managed one field goal for the rest of the half and trailed 30-21 at the intermission.

The Horned Frogs (7-0) scored the first two baskets of the second half and stretched the lead to 34-21. MSU answered with back-to-back baskets from Fallou Ndoye and Thomas. The Horned Frogs ran the lead back to 12 points at 43-31 with 12:41 left.

The Bulldogs mounted one last threat and pulled within five at 50-45 on a Thomas 3-point basket 3:38 left in the game. MSU missed two front end of one-plus-one opportunities and that made the comeback more difficult.

“We have a week off without a game and we have to work at getting better,” Ray said. “We will watch film. We will bring guys in on an individual basis and help them get better. We had too many mental mistakes but we will use this as a learning experience.”

For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 19 of 52 shots from the field (36.5 percent), 3 of 10 shots from 3-point range (30.0 percent) and 11 of 20 shots from the foul line (55.0 percent). The Horned Frogs hit 22 of 45 shots from the field (48.9 percent), 2 of 12 shots from 3-point range (16.7 percent) and 15 of 29 shots from the foul line (51.7 percent).

TCU held a 37-33 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had three assists and 12 turnovers, while the Horned Frogs had 12 assists and 15 turnovers.

Ndoye and Travis Daniels each had a team-high five rebounds for the Bulldogs.

TCU received a double-double from Kenrich Williams (10 points, 11 rebounds). Chris Washburn led the Horned Frogs with 12 points, while Amric Fields added 11 points.

MSU returns to action Saturday with a 1 p.m. start at Tulane.

(From MSU Media Relations)

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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