McNeese State preview

Freshman forward Oliver Black earned his first career start last week. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Freshman forward Oliver Black earned his first career start last week. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State snapped a five-game losing skid prior to taking a one week break during Christmas.

Tonight the Bulldogs return to the hardwood taking on McNeese State at 7 p.m.

Mississippi State leads the all-time series 6-1 against the Cowboys having won the last six meetings. The Bulldogs last claimed an 89-63 victory in Starkville on Dec. 16, 2006 behind 16 points from Richard Delk.

Mississippi State holds a 50-4 record against teams from the Southland Conference while the Cowboys are 3-49 against the Southeastern Conference.

Rick Ray‘s Bulldogs are 6-5 on the year coming off a 70-47 home victory against Jacksonville on Dec. 23. Junior shooting guard Fred Thomas paced Mississippi State with 16 points.

The Bulldogs are shooting 43.5-percent from the field and averaging 62.8 points per game. Mississippi State is knocking down 27.6-percent from 3-point land and 72.8-percent from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs have outrebounded their opponents by 8.3 allowing 57.4 points on 39.8-percent shooting.

Senior forward Roquez Johnson leads Mississippi State with 12.2 points and 5.9 boards. Johnson has made 14 of his last 21 shots over the last three outings and leads the SEC with an .600 field goal percentage.

Johnson is joined in the low post by true freshman Fallou Ndoye, who is putting up four points and pulling down 2.6 rebounds. Junior forward Travis Daniels is contributing 7.2 points and 5.5 boards.

Thomas tops the backcourt with 11.9 points while freshman point guard I.J. Ready is adding 5.6 points and 1.9 assists.

Senior guard Trivante Bloodman needs just eight points shy of 500 for his career while junior forward Gavin Ware is two rebounds shy of 500.

Ware (ankle) missed the Bulldogs previous contest and freshman guard Maurice Dunlap (wrist fracture) has been out for the last two outings.

McNeese State enters tonight’s game at 5-5 on the year and have dropped two straight. The Cowboys fell at home 87-58 to Central Michigan on Dec. 22.

Dave Simmons is in his ninth season at McNeese State. Simmons’ squad is shooting 41.5-percent from the floor and scoring 70.1 points a game. The Cowboys are knocking down 29.4-percent from the outside and 68.1-percent from the free throw stripe. McNeese State’s opposition has averaged 73.5 points on 44.4-percent shooting.

Senior forward Desharick Guidry (6-5, 200) paces the Cowboys with 17 points and 12.6 rebounds while junior forward Austin Lewis (6-8, 215) is adding 5.2 points and 3.6 boards.

Senior guard Kevin Hardy (6-2, 180) tops the backcourt averaging 11.5 points while fellow senior Keelan Garrett (6-0, 180) is scoring 10.4. Sophomore guard Jamaya Burr (6-0, 187) rounds out the starting five by chipping in 8.4 points.

Tonight’s game can be streamed on SEC Network + with Charlie Winfield and Jay Perry 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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