North Carolina Central preview

Senior guard Fred Thomas has made five starts this season and is averaging 5.5 points for Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Senior guard Fred Thomas has made five starts this season and is averaging 5.5 points for Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State will get one final tune up before conference play begins. The Bulldogs host North Carolina Central at 1 p.m. today in their final non-league action.

Today will mark the first ever meeting between MSU and the Eagles on the hardwood.

The Bulldogs enter the contest at 6-5 coming off a 93-69 win over Northern Colorado in Jackson last Wednesday. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Malik Newman led the way with 20 points in that outing in his hometown.

Ben Howland‘s bunch is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and scoring 79.1 points. State is knocking down 31.3 percent from the outside and 75.1 percent from the free throw line. The Bulldogs have outrebounded their opponents by 0.1 per game while surrendering 75.2 points on 31.6 percent shooting.

Mississippi State has four starters averaging double figures led by senior forward Gavin Ware with 17.8 points and 7.7 rebounds. Fellow senior forward Travis Daniels is contributing 8.4 points and 5.2 boards.

Newman tops the backcourt averaging 13.1 points while senior Craig Sword is adding 12.5 points and junior I.J. Ready is scoring 11.1.

North Carolina Central is 5-8 on the campaign and has won two straight, its latest a 107-68 home victory against Montreat College on Tuesday. Junior guard Patrick Cole (6-5, 210) led the way with 23 points in the win.

LeVelle Moton‘s team is shooting 42.2 percent from the floor and averaging 68.8 points per game. The Eagles are making 31.6 percent from 3-point range and 67.1 percent from the charity stripe. Their opposition is scoring 69.8 points on 42.5 percent shooting against them.

North Carolina Central also has four players scoring in double figures paced by Cole, a Siena College transfer, averaging 16.6 points. Senior guard Jeremiah Ingram (6-7, 210) is scoring 11.8 points while Marquette transfer and junior guard Jamal Ferguson (6-5, 185) is averaging 5.5 points and freshman C.J. Wiggins (5-11, 170) is chipping in three.

Senior forward Enoch Hood (6-9, 205) is putting up 2.7 points and pulling down 2.4 rebounds.

This afternoon’s game will be streamed on SEC Network +.

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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