Southern Miss preview

Freshman Victoria Vivians leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring. (Logan Lowery/  Daily Journal)

Freshman Victoria Vivians leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Following a hard-fought contest against Louisiana Tech on Thursday, No. 22 Mississippi State returns to the road Sunday as it faces a tough in-state showdown against Southern Mississippi.

Tip for the contest at Reed Green Coliseum is set for 2 p.m. on the American Sports Network. The contest will be shown in Mississippi in Greenwood-Greenville on Cox Sports Television. Fans can watch a stream of the game on www.americansportsnet.com.

Fans can listen to the radio call with Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield on WKBB-FM 100.9 (Golden Triangle and surrounding area) and WXWX-FM 96.3 (Tupelo). HailStatePLUS subscribers can tune in to the live audio stream.

Mississippi State improved to 9-0, the second-best start in school history, after rallying for an 81-77 home victory against Louisiana Tech on Thursday.

Freshman Victoria Vivians led the way with 20 points, her fourth contest with 20-plus points.

Thursday’s performance improved Vivians’ scoring average to 17.9 ppg, tops in the SEC and second-highest among freshmen in the NCAA Division I ranks.

Sophomore Ketara Chapel added 13 points, including a late basket that put MSU up 80-77, to raise her season tally to 10.4 ppg. The Temple, Texas, native notched her fourth double-digit scoring game of the season, matching her total from last season.

Fellow sophomore Chinwe Okorie paces the Bulldogs on the boards with 7.7 per game. Okorie collected her first double-double Thursday, scoring 11 points to go with a season high 14 rebounds.

Okorie grabs an SEC third-most 4.4 offensive rebounds per game for an MSU squad that claims an NCAA second-most 21.9 per game.

The 3-point arc could play a big factor in Sunday’s contest. Southern Miss (6-2) converts at a 39.6-percent clip that is in the Top 20 nationally, while Mississippi State holds foes to 23.7 percent, the second-lowest tally in the SEC and 14th in the nation.

The Lady Eagles, who are 5-0 at home this season, are paced by 15.3 ppg from Tamara Jones. She rates second on the team in rebounding, right behind Jerontay Clemons’ 6.6 average.

The in-state foes are renewing the series for the 42nd time, with USM holding a 22-19 advantage. The Bulldogs, however, won both meetings in Starkville last season, including a thrilling 74-66 double-overtime win in the WNIT second round.

Southern Miss halted a two-game MSU win streak in Hattiesburg in 2012, claiming a 61-59 win on a last-second Ance Celmina basket.

Sunday’s contest begins a busy stretch for the Bulldogs. MSU returns home Monday to host its third Hail State Hoops luncheon before welcoming Santa Claus and Mississippi Valley State to the Hump that night at 7.

Monday’s luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. in Mize Pavilion, with doors opening at 11:15. Cost for the event, which includes a full meal and hoops talk with head coach Vic Schaefer and the Bulldogs, is $12.

Fans who RSVP by phone at (662) 325-0198 or email (dbrown@athletics.msstate.edu) will be entered for the chance to win great Mississippi State gear.

Monday’s Christmas luncheon will feature a special “12 Days of Christmas” presentation by the Bulldogs.

(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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