Arkansas State preview

Travis Daniels has started all eight games for the Bulldogs this season. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Travis Daniels has started all eight games for the Bulldogs this season. (Logan Lowery/ Daily Journal)

Mississippi State will make its first appearance inside Humphrey Coliseum in 23 days taking on Arkansas State tonight at 6 p.m.

The Bulldogs last home game came on Nov. 24 against Clayton State and have gone 1-3 since. MSU is 4-0 at “The Hump” on the year and hoping the friendly confines will help it snap a string of three straight losses.

It will also be a homecoming of sorts for Red Wolves coach John Brady. Brady was an assistant coach for the Bulldogs from 1983-1990 under Bob Boyd and Richard Williams. He later led LSU to the Final Four in 2006 and has been the head coach at ASU since 2008.

Mississippi State leads the series 9-2 over Arkansas State including a perfect 6-0 mark in Starkville. The Bulldogs have won five straight in the series including a 68-63 victory on Nov. 21, 2005 behind 16 points from Jamont Gordon.

MSU is 60-11 against Sun Belt Conference opponents and the Red Wolves are their only scheduled Sun Belt foe this season.

The Bulldogs are 5-3 on the year having dropped a 59-49 decision at Oregon State on Saturday. Junior wing Fred Thomas was the only Mississippi State player in double figures with 16 in that contest.

Rick Ray‘s roster is shooting 44.4-percent from the field and averaging 64.4 points per game. The Bulldogs have hit 28.4-percent of their shots from the perimeter and 71.5-percent from the free throw line. MSU has outrebounded its opponents by eight allowing 57.8 points on 38.8-percent shooting.

Thomas tops the Bulldogs in scoring with 13 points per game. He is joined in the backcourt by senior point guard Trivante Bloodman averaging 7.9 points and dishing out 3.9 assists and junior shooting guard Craig Sword adding two points.

Junior forward Gavin Ware is putting up 12.5 points and pulling down 6.5 rebounds while fellow junior forward Travis Daniels is chipping in 7.8 points and 5.6 boards.

Arkansas State is 2-4 this season having lost two consecutive outings. The Red Wolves fell to 1-2 on the road after a 73-65 defeat at Toledo on Saturday. Junior guard Cameron Gordon (6-0, 158) was ASU’s leading scorer with 18 points.

Brady’s bunch is shooting 44.3-percent from the floor and scoring 67.3 points. The Red Wolves are knocking down 36.9-percent behind the arc and 70.4-percent from the charity stripe. Arkansas State has outrebounded its opponents by two and are surrendering 69.2 points on 32.9-percent shooting.

Sophomore forward Anthony Livingston (6-8, 230) leads the Red Wolves with 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds.

Golden gives ASU’s backcourt 14.8 points while junior guard Sean Gardner (6-5, 178) is scoring 12 points.

Former Mississippi State signee P.J. Hardwick (5-10, 167), now a sophomore guard, is averaging 4.8 points for the Red Wolves. Hardwick signed with the Bulldogs under Rick Stansbury in 2011 but was released from his letter of intent when Ray took over the following spring. He landed at North Texas as a freshman before transferring to Arkansas State and sitting out last season.

Junior center Nouhoum Bocoum (6-10, 270) is putting up 7.2 points and grabbing 6.2 boards.

Tonight’s game will be televised on the SEC Network with Matt Stewart and Dane Bradshaw 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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