Missouri preview

LaKaris Salter is averaging 3.2 points and 1.3 rebounds off the bench for Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

LaKaris Salter is averaging 3.2 points and 1.3 rebounds off the bench for Mississippi State. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Riding the momentum of a three-game win streak, No. 11 Mississippi State returns home Sunday to host No. 22 Missouri in the first of three consecutive games against ranked opponents.

Tip from Humphrey Coliseum is set for 2 p.m., with the contest being broadcast on www.watchespn.com and the WatchESPN app on SEC Network +.

Fans can also listen to the radio call in the Golden Triangle on WKBB-FM 100.9, in Tupelo on WXWX-FM 96.3 and in Corinth on both WKCU-FM 92.9 and WKCU-AM 1350.

Tickets for the game cost $5 for adults. Admission is free for both youth ages 17 and under and Mississippi State students with a valid student ID.

The first 750 students get a free foam hand, and MSU students get free pizza while supplies last.

Families can enjoy games and inflatables in Bully’s Kidz Kourt starting at 1 p.m., and the famous Russian Bar Trio performs its high-flying routine at halftime.

Mississippi State looks to keep flying high after claiming a 71-52 road win at LSU Thursday to improve to 20-4 overall and 7-3 in SEC play.

The Bulldogs remained in second place in the SEC standings by claiming a third-straight victory, including two in a row on the road.

“I’m really proud of how we executed,” MSU’s Vic Schaefer said of Thursday’s win. “We went on the road and had a very business-like mindset. We faced an awfully good zone, and we were able to attack it and shoot 49% while only having 10 turnovers. I like how we are sharing the basketball. It was a good win. It is good to win on the road, but now we have to get ready to play a team in Missouri that obviously kind of handed us our tail about three or four weeks ago.”

Mississippi State looks to continue its home success after claiming a historic 65-63 overtime win against then-No. 19 Tennessee on Jan. 28. The Bulldogs have been tough at the Hump, winning 32 of their last 35 at home, including a 29-2 mark the last two years.

Sunday’s contest is the second of the season against Missouri. The Bulldogs suffered their first SEC defeat with a 66-54 setback in Columbia on Jan. 14.

Schaefer’s squad struggled getting shots to drop in that contest, making 27.6 percent from the field. Sophomore Victoria Vivians paced the Maroon & White with 19 points.

State’s offense has started to get hot since that setback, though, averaging 62.3 points and shooting 39 percent from the floor in the six games since.

Vivians has been the Bulldogs’ top offensive weapon this season, rating third in the conference with 17.3 points per game. In league play she has been the fourth-best scorer at 16.1 ppg.

Sophomore Morgan William has also stepped up her offensive production, scoring double figures in four-straight games and five of the Bulldogs’ last six contests after punching in 11 at LSU.

The SEC’s top free-throw shooter at 86.1 percent, William is averaging 9.5 ppg this season but 10.2 in conference action.

Junior Dominique Dillingham joined Vivians and William in double figures in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, scoring 10 points for her third-straight game in double digits.

The Spring, Texas, native has scored at a 7.7 clip this season, but in league contests she is averaging 8.9 ppg.

Dillingham also sparks a Bulldog defense that rates 18th nationally allowing 53.3 ppg and ninth in the country forcing 22.3 turnovers per contest.

Mississippi State seeks to continue that stellar defense Sunday against a Missouri squad that sank 50 percent of its shots in the first meeting, the only opponent to eclipse 45 percent against MSU this season.

“(Our players) know how it felt to walk out of there that night,” Schaefer said about the season’s first meeting against Missouri. “They know it’s about how hard we play the game, and I think they were disappointed that night about how we played.

“I don’t think there is going to be a lot of conversation about that. I think the conversation is going to be about we have another Top 25 team coming in here. They are well coached, and they have a lot of good players, including McDonald’s All-Americans. We are going to have to be ready to play.”

State looks to rebound against a Tiger squad that had a three-game win streak halted with a 65-50 home setback to Georgia on Thursday. That loss dropped Missouri to 18-5 overall, 5-5 in conference play.

Freshman Sophie Cunningham paced Missouri on Thursday with 17 points. She leads the Tigers with 13.3 ppg this season, but is second on the squad in league play with a 10.3 average.

Jordan Frericks tops the Tigers in SEC action with 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. She tallies 12.2 points and 7.9 rebounds for the season.

(From MSU Media Relations)

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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