STARKVILLE – Mississippi State is in the midst of a season-long five-game losing skid.
The Bulldogs have struggled on the road all year but two of those five losses have come at home to No. 3 Florida and No. 14 Kentucky. MSU seeks a return to the win column tonight, hosting Georgia at 8 p.m. on Fox Sports South.
“They’re a big, strong and physical team,” said MSU coach Rick Ray. “They do a great job defensively. It’ll be at the Hump, so hopefully our guys will be ready for the game.”
State is 13-10 overall with its last win coming on Jan. 22 against Auburn. The Bulldogs have dropped their last five games by an average of 13.2 points. MSU has plummeted to 13th in the overall SEC standings at 3-7.
“We’ve got to get better,” said MSU senior forward Colin Borchert. “The end result is we’ve got to win a game. We’ve got win more than one game so the biggest thing for us is we’ve got to get better as a team, not just one person. We’ve got to make sure we work and play together as one.”
Mississippi State holds a slight 53-52 edge in the series against Georgia, winning 72-61 last season in Athens. It is Ray’s lone SEC road win in his two years at State. Jalen Steele scored 21 points in that outing to lead MSU but is sitting out this season while intending to transfer for his final year of eligibility.
Georgia is just 15-31 in Starkville but won its last trip to Humphrey Coliseum, 70-68 in overtime in 2012. The two teams will meet again on March 5 in Athens.
Mississippi State enters tonight’s contest shooting 44.6 percent from the field and averaging 67.7 points. However, in the last four games State has been limited to 59 points or less and is averaging just 52.3.
“They’re a team that has great speed and terrific interior play,” said Georgia coach Mark Fox. “I think it’s a team with some young guys in the backcourt that’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
Sword leads way
Sophomore shooting guard Craig Sword continues to lead MSU in scoring (13.2) and was one of three Bulldogs to score 12 points in the 69-59 loss to Kentucky on Saturday.
MSU is expected to have freshman point guard I.J. Ready back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with a fever.
Georgia (12-10, 6-4) has won two straight, over LSU (91-78) and Texas A&M (62-50) last week.
Sophomore guard Charles Mann leads Georgia in scoring (13.5), assists (2.9) and minutes (30.0).
Freshman Kenny Paul Geno (Booneville) has appeared in 14 games off the bench for Georgia, scoring 13 total points as a true freshman.