BASKETBALL REWIND: Mississippi State (18-7, 6-4 SEC)

By NEMS Daily Journal

Looking back: Backs to the wall, the Bulldogs responded with two straight wins to start a three-game homestand.
The Bulldogs answered the bell quickly against Ole Miss with back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Rebels were calling time out less than a minute in an eventual 71-63 MSU win.
Ravern Johnson led four MSU players in double figures with 18 points and was 4-for-7 from 3-point range. He scored eight points early in the second half when MSU took control.
Johnson was not a factor two days later, but point guard Dee Bost scored a career-high 32 points, erupting from a 3-point slump with a 7-for-12 performance, in an 85-75 overtime win against Auburn.
Looking ahead: Two wins to start the homestand is great, but in terms of resume building the Bulldogs can really help themselves if they can defeat No. 3 Kentucky (24-1, 9-1 SEC) Tuesday night at 8 on ESPN.
The Bulldogs play at LSU (9-16, 0-11 SEC) on Saturday.
Who’s hot: Bost had hit only 5-of-34 3-point shots over the last seven games going into the Auburn game. He scored from the key, the wing and on meaningful attacks at the rim.
He was 11-for-19 from the floor, 7-for-13 from 3-point range, 3-for-3 at the free throw line. He also had four assists and only one turnover in 40 minutes.
Who’s not: Forward Kodi Augustus was the poster child for the lack of emotion that concerned MSU coach Rick Stansbury after the Ole Miss game. Augustus was 1-for-6 from the floor in the first half. As he missed wide-open looks, his teammates were unable to help him with offensive boards. Augustus was 5-for-16 for the week, 0-for-4 from the arc, and Stansbury indicated he may soon reign in Augustus’ 3-point priviledges.
RPI watch: The Bulldogs begin the week at No. 57 and would give a big boost by beating No. 5 Kentucky.
- Bottom line: The Bulldogs’ RPI is suffering mostly because of their season-opening loss to Rider, which has a current RPI of 158. State needs to get on a roll and stay there for a while to impress the committee. After Kentucky, only one Top 25 RPI (Tennessee at No. 21) remains for MSU.