Bulldogs focus on getting ball to Moultrie

By Brad Locke | Daily Journal

The offense hasn’t been coming so easily to Arnett Moultrie lately.
Mississippi State’s 6-foot-11 forward was held to eight points in a two-point loss to Baylor on Dec. 28, managed 15 in a two-point win over Utah State three days later, then had just nine in Saturday’s 10-point setback at Arkansas.
That last game – MSU’s SEC opener – Moultrie was held to six shot attempts and got to the free throw line just once. He shoots 55.6 percent from the floor and 86.8 percent from the free throw stripe, and the No. 20-ranked Bulldogs need to find a way to get him involved again.
“We’ve got to get him the ball in there, and for the most part we’ve been pretty consistent with that,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said Monday. “Arkansas totally took us out of that. The times he got it, they ran a double team at him, and he was handling against that pressure a lot out there, too, helping us bring that ball up.
“We’ve got to get him the ball more, that’s for sure.”
Perhaps the home court will help Moultrie, who’s averaging 16.2 points on the season and 17.9 at Humphrey Coliseum. State (13-3) hosts Tennessee (8-7) at 8 p.m. Thursday, and if he’s able to get the ball in good position, Moultrie will be tough for the Volunteers to handle.
So, of course, Tennessee’s plan is to make that tough for him to do.
“You don’t want to double-team because the opposite big (Renardo Sidney) on the other side is just as talented,” UT coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Really it’s just trying to make him work to get the ball, because If he gets the ball in a comfort zone, it’s going to be a long night.”
Baseball: back to work
MSU’s baseball team got back together on Sunday after the holidays and is working toward the Feb. 17 opener against Washington State.
After a team meeting Sunday, the Bulldogs began skill instruction Monday. Formal preseason practices begin Jan. 27.
MSU went 38-25 last season, including 14-16 in the SEC, and pushed Florida to the third and deciding game of the Gainesville Super Regional before losing.
Softball gets transfers
First-year softball coach Vann Stuedeman announced Monday that she has added a pair of Georgia transfers to the roster.
Pitcher Alison Owens and outfielder Julia Echols have both joined the program and will be eligible to play starting in the 2013 season, per NCAA transfer rules.
Owens has a 2.21 career ERA, including a 1.93 mark last season, when she was 15-3 with three saves. In 2010, she made four appearances for Georgia in the Women’s College World Series.
Echols hit .268 in 33 games last season as a freshman, with three home runs and nine RBI.
brad.locke@journalinc.com