Bulldogs in search of first road win

Mississippi State is 0-6 on the road this season and has lost eight straight dating back to last year. The Bulldogs and head coach Ben Howland have another road game slated at Missouri on Saturday. Howland spoke about the match-up and I.J. Ready‘s health entering the game.

On what to tell his players going into another road game …
“Not a whole lot different. We feel like we can win every game we’re playing. I go into every game expecting to win. It’s about preparation. They are a team that plays better at home than they do on the road. People look at them playing against Kentucky. A lot of people get beat bad at Rupp Arena; that doesn’t mean anything about tomorrow’s game. They have a good inside presence. That is what is going to be tough for us, matching up with two traditional bigs that are both low post players that can step out. They also have good guards. I watched their game last night against Texas A&M at A&M where they were right there with the top team in our league. They played them really tough. They will play man and zone so we have to prepare for different things. We definitely want to get our first road win tomorrow.”

On Travis Daniels minutes decreasing …
“When you think about the change that I put in with adding Quinndary Weatherspoon into the starting lineup, that is the guy that has really suffered the most. I expect he will get a lot of minutes tomorrow. He had a good practice yesterday. I am really trying to emphasis defensive rebounding with our players. He was second yesterday in practice behind Weatherspoon. So the guy who is going to get the most defensive rebounds in our practices is going to get more time and opportunity to play in the game.”

On where Aric Holman stands after missing the first half of the season …
“He would definitely be farther ahead. He had his best practice of the year yesterday. He was really good yesterday. He was 7 for 12. He was looking to score more. Because he is a pass first guy. We really have to implore him to score too. He had a nice three against South Carolina to cut it to 6 at one point. Yesterday he scored on the block. He was able to spin off Gavin Ware a couple times and score around the basket with really nice moves. He is getting more comfortable. It is hard to make up for being out three and a half months leading up to the season and into the season. The time that he is getting now and will continue to get the rest of the season will serve him well. I think he is getting better and better. I was really encouraged by him yesterday. Our three freshmen are all good players and will get much better after this year. The best thing about being a freshmen is that you become a sophomore.”

On what led to the 51 to 26 defensive rebound lead South Carolina had …
“They are so physical, big and strong and we are playing so small. They especially pounded us on the offensive glass with way too many second shots. That’s what they do. Our biggest weakness on our team is our inability to rebound, which will truly be tested again tomorrow at Missouri.”

On if he is expecting more from his bench since he changed the starting lineup …
“The change was to get our best five players on the board and get off to a great start. We have to use our bench. Johnny (Zuppardo) played five minutes last game. I was hoping he would play more, but he got 3 fouls in those minutes. So we have to do a good job of staying out of foul trouble. We battle though. We were down 4 with 4:43 to go against a good team with a chance to get stops. We just have to get over that hump, and it’s been a common thing for us. So hopefully we can get over that hump tomorrow.”

On I.J. Ready …
“He came down on the guy’s foot and went back out there and played on it last game. He didn’t practice yesterday because it was sore. Hopefully he will be able to play more today.”

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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