Southern preview

Johnny Zuppardo made all three of his shots and scored six points in his Mississippi State debut on Friday. (Kelly Price/ Mississippi State)

Johnny Zuppardo made all three of his shots and scored six points in his Mississippi State debut on Friday. (Kelly Price/ Mississippi State)

Fresh off an impressive 106-88 opening win over Eastern Washington on Friday, Mississippi State is back in action at 7 p.m. tonight hosting Southern University.

The Bulldogs received career-best scoring outings from senior forward Gavin Ware and junior point guard I.J. Ready with 26 and 25 points respectively in the opener. Ware also led the team with 13 rebounds.

Senior forward Travis Daniels scored 16 points in the opener while senior guard Fred Thomas added 10 points and senior guard Craig Sword contributed nine.

MSU coach Ben Howland is hoping to have freshman guard Malik Newman available tonight after being held out of the first game with turf toe.

The Bulldogs made 62.1 percent from the field in the opener, their first time shooting over 60 percent since 2012. State also shot 29.4 percent from the outside and 79.2 percent from the free throw line. They outrebounded the Eagles by 15 for the game while allowing them to shoot 50.8 percent from the floor.

It will be the first time the Bulldogs have met Southern on the hardwood. The Bulldogs are 24-3 against teams from the SWAC, last defeating Jackson State 58-56 in Starkville during the 2013-14 season.

The Jaguars are 0-1 on the year after an 86-68 loss at Arkansas on Friday.

Southern shot only 26.7 percent from the floor in the first half but managed to make 60.9 percent in the second. The Jaguars made 33.3 percent from 3-point range and 71.4 percent from the charity stripe.

Arkansas outrebounded Southern 43-28 for the game.

Senior guard Christopher Hydar (5-11, 170) led the Jaguars with 22 points, five rebounds and five steals against the Razorbacks. Hydar is joined in the backcourt by USC Upstate transfer and senior Adrian Rogers (6-4, 205), who scored 12 points, and junior Trelun Banks (6-1, 170) that added eight.

Southern only received four points from its starters in the post with sophomore Jared Sam (6-9, 210) and Canadian junior D’Arian Allen (6-8, 225) each scoring two. Sam grabbed five rebounds while Allen chipped in a pair.

Tonight’s game will be televised on SEC Network + with Bart Gregory and Matt Wyatt 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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