Missouri State preview

I.J. Ready ranks second for Mississippi State in scoring averaging 13.5 points per game. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

I.J. Ready ranks second for Mississippi State in scoring averaging 13.5 points per game. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State will try to salvage a win from the Puerto Rico Tip-Off today taking on Missouri State at 11 a.m. CT.

The Bulldogs have had a tough go so far in the tournament losing 105-79 to Miami on Thursday and 74-72 to Texas Tech on Friday. The losses dropped Mississippi State’s all-time record to 5-6 in Puerto Rico.

Ben Howland‘s Bulldogs are now 1-3 on the year having lost three straight. Freshman guard Malik Newman led Mississippi State with 17 points in his first career start on Friday.

Today will mark just the second meeting between the Bulldogs and Missouri State. Mississippi State won the previous game 79-68 on Nov. 23, 1997 in the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska when the Bears were known as Southwest Missouri State.

The Bulldogs enter today’s game shooting 47.8 percent from the field and averaging 82.2 points per game. Mississippi State is also making 34 percent from 3-point range and 71.1 percent from the charity stripe. It has outrebounded its opponents by three and is allowing 85.8 points on 49.4 percent shooting.

Senior forward Gavin Ware leads the Bulldogs with 18.5 points and 7.8 rebounds while fellow senior forward Travis Daniels is putting up nine points and pulling down 4.8 boards.

Junior guard I.J. Ready is scoring 13.5 points and is joined in the backcourt by senior Craig Sword adding 12.8 points and Newman contributing 12.7.

Missouri State (0-3) has also lost its first two games of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, falling to No. 22 Butler 93-59 and Minnesota 74-69. In Friday’s loss to the Golden Gophers, senior forward Camyn Boone (6-6, 238) scored a team-high 17 points off the bench.

Paul Lusk‘s team is shooting 36.5 percent from the floor and scoring 64.3 points. The Bears are hitting 26.5 percent behind the arc and 65.2 percent from the free throw line. Missouri State’s opposition is averaging 82.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting.

Boone is the only Bear averaging double figures with 10.3 points while junior forward Jordan Martin (6-8, 240) is adding 7.3 points and 3.7 boards and freshman forward Obediah Church (6-7, 211) is chipping in 6.5 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Junior Dequon Miller (5-10, 171) paces the backcourt with 9.7 points while sophomore Chris Kendrix (6-5, 182) is scoring 8.3 points and senior Dorrian Williams (6-3, 185) contributing three points.

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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