Miami preview

Freshman guard Quinndary Weatherspoon is averaging eight points and 20 minutes off the bench for the Bulldogs. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Freshman guard Quinndary Weatherspoon is averaging eight points and 20 minutes off the bench for the Bulldogs. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State will take on Miami at 4 p.m. in the first of three games over a four day span as part of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

The Bulldogs will face either No. 16 Utah or Texas Tech on Friday and another opponent on Sunday that has yet to be determined. Butler, Minnesota, Missouri State and Temple are the other teams in the event.

The Bulldogs are 5-4 all-time in Puerto Rico and are making their first appearance there in a decade. MSU is 3-3 in San Juan and went 2-1 during their last trip for the 2005 San Juan Shootout.

The series between MSU and the Hurricanes is tied 2-2 overall with Miami winning the previous meeting 64-58 in Starkville on Dec. 12, 2007. Jamont Gordon and Barry Stewart had 18 points each in that game.

The Bulldogs are 1-1 against Miami in neutral site match-ups and 30-49 against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Bulldogs’ coach Ben Howland is 3-3 all-time against Miami.

State is also 1-1 so far this season. The Bulldogs are coming off a 76-72 home loss to Southern University on Monday. Howland’s team turned the ball over 19 times and shot 31 3-pointers in that loss. Senior guard Craig Sword was the team’s leading scorer with 16 points.

Mississippi State is shooting 50.8 percent from the field and averaging 89 points per game. The Bulldogs have knocked down 33.3 percent from the outside and 72.3 percent from the free throw line. The have also outrebounded their opponents by 12.5 while allowing 82 points on 48.8 percent shooting.

MSU is led by senior forward Gavin Ware, the reigning SEC Player of the Week. Ware is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while senior forward Travis Daniels putting up 12.5 points and pulling down five rebounds.

Junior point guard I.J. Ready is scoring 17 points and dishing out 5.5 assists. Ready is joined in the backcourt by Sword adding 12.5 points and senior wing Fred Thomas chipping in 9.5.

The Bulldogs’ bench will be thinner during the trip as sophomore forward Demetrius Houston¬†was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team on Tuesday.

Miami is 2-0 on the year coming off a 93-77 home win over Louisiana on Monday. Junior guard Davon Reed (6-6, 210) paced the Hurricanes with 19 points and was one of six players with double figures.

Jim Larranaga‘s team is shooting 48.7 percent from the floor and scoring 89.5 points. Miami has made 40.7 percent from 3-point range and 71.7 percent from the charity stripe. The Hurricanes have outrebounded their opposition by two and are surrendering 68 points on 43.2 percent shooting.

Senior guard Sheldon McClellan (6-5, 200) paces the Hurricanes with 17 points per game. Reed is close behind at 16.5 points and Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez (5-11, 185), a senior, is averaging 11.5.

Spanish senior forward Ivan Cruz Uceda (6-10, 217) is scoring 14.5 points and grabbing five rebounds while Nigerian senior center Tonye Jekiri (7-0, 248) is contributing 5.5 points and eight boards.

Today’s game will be televised on ESPN2 with Rich Hollenberg and LaPhonso Ellis 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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