Missouri-Kansas City preview

Mississippi State sophomore forward Fallou Ndoye has scored two points and grabbed 11 rebounds this season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State sophomore forward Fallou Ndoye has scored two points and grabbed 11 rebounds this season. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Following a 10-day layoff, Mississippi State is back in action today in its first true road test.

The Bulldogs travel to take on Missouri-Kansas City at 4 p.m. in Municipal Auditorium.

The Bulldogs lead the series 2-1 over UMKC, claiming an 82-64 win in the last meeting on Nov. 23, 2004 in Starkville led by 30 points from Winsome Frazier.

The Kangaroos won the only meeting in Kansas City 89-87 in overtime in 1993. MSU has lost six straight non-conference road games with its last victory coming against Detroit on Dec. 17, 2011.

Mississippi State owns a 3-1 all-time record against teams from the Western Athletic Conference.

MSU is 4-3 on the year having won its last three outings. The Bulldogs last defeated Texas Southern 86-73 on Dec. 2 led by a double-double from senior forward Gavin Ware with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Ben Howland‘s bunch tops the Southeastern Conference shooting 50.2 percent from the field and is scoring 82.1 points. The Bulldogs are shooting 31.9 percent from 3-point range and 73.6 percent from the charity stripe. State has outrebounded its opponents by 1.6 allowing 76.7 points on 46.8 percent shooting.

Ware paces the Bulldogs with 20 points and 7.9 rebounds. He currently leads the SEC and is sixth nationally shooting 70.9 percent. Fellow senior forward Travis Daniels is putting up 10.1 points and pulling down 5.4 rebounds.

Junior guard I.J. Ready is scoring 12.6 points and dishing out 5.1 assists while senior guard Craig Sword is adding 12.4 points. Freshman guard Malik Newman is contributing 11 points.

Sword currently leads active SEC players with 1,176 career points while Ware is the conference leader with 709 boards.

The Bulldogs will meet a familiar face today as former assistant coach Chris Hollender is serving in the same capacity at Missouri-Kansas City. Hollender worked under former Mississippi State coach Rick Ray from 2013-15.

The Kangaoos (5-4) have lost their last two games at Iowa (95-75) and at South Dakota (79-70). UMKC received 25 points in its previous game from junior guard LaVell Boyd (6-0, 175).

Third-year coach Kareem Richardson‘s roster is shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and averaging 72.8 points. The Kangaroos are knocking down 37 percent from the outside and 66.3 percent from the free throw line. Missouri-Kansas City has outrebounded its opposition by four while surrendering 75.1 points on 42.9 percent shooting.

Boyd tops the Kangaroos with 15.6 points followed closely by fellow junior guard Martez Harrison (5-11, 200) scoring 15.4 points.

Sophomore forward Darius Austin (6-6, 220) is averaging 7.6 points and 5.1 rebounds while junior forward Kyle Steward (6-7, 195) is adding 5.8 points and 3.7 boards.

Senior center Thaddeus Smith (6-9, 245) is chipping in 0.7 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Today’s game will be televised on American Sports Network with Neil Harwell and Jayice Pearson 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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