Bulldogs’ Ray still seeking consistency

By Special to the Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – In Saturday’s
loss at Providence in the SEC-Big
East Challenge, Mississippi State
produced a solid second half and
managed to cut a 26-point deficit
to just five points in the closing
moments.
But don’t expect MSU head
coach Rick Ray to be claiming any
moral victories.
Despite a roster depleted by injuries
and dismissals, Ray isn’t
pleased with the end result and
that centers around the Bulldogs’
2-5 start in his first season.
The Bulldogs return to action
tonight with a 7 p.m. tipoff against
Texas-San Antonio at Humphrey
Coliseum. Ray is hoping his
squad produces consistent play
from start to finish.
“Not necessarily a quick start
but just a start where you don’t
put yourself in a hole,” Ray told
reporters on Monday. “Obviously
the hole ended up being insurmountable
and that’s the one
thing we got to do. We got to give
ourselves a chance to win ball
games.
“I’m not happy. I know a lot of
people were patting us on the
back about the way we came back
and competed in the second half.
I am not satisfied with that. It is
great our guys came back and
played hard but we got to play
better and put ourselves in better
position.”
As far as positives are concerned,
Ray pointed to one major
factor for MSU’s improved play in
the second half at Providence.
“We forced turnovers,” said Ray.
“It’s always better to play basketball
when you force turnovers
and play in transition. We were
able to get out in transition and
make some things happen. The
biggest thing is we scored off our
defense.”
STRUGGLING ROADRUNNERS
UTSA is currently in the middle
of a season-long, six-game
road swing and enter Starkville
with a 3-4 record. The Roadrunners
of the Western Athletic
Conference have dropped their
last three games on the road at
BYU, Oregon and CSU-Bakersfield.
Junior guard Kannon Burrage
leads UTSA with 17.9 points a
game while forward Jeromie
Hill is averaging 12.1 points and
6.9 boards a game.
“They are a ball-screening offense,”
said Ray of UTSA. “They
have a really skilled kid (Hill) at
the four spot that can make
some things happen. They want
to spread you out, get some
dribble penetration and try to
get in some situations where
those guys can catch and shoot
from the perimeter.
“From what I’ve seen, we
have to make sure we keep
those guys out of the lane so we
are not in help situations all the
time.”
Tonight’s matchup will be the
first-ever meeting between the
two schools. It also marks the
last game for MSU inside
Humphrey Coliseum until a
game against Alabama A&M
Dec. 30. The Bulldogs are off for
exams until a Dec. 15 visit to
Loyola-Chicago, followed by a
Dec. 22 game in Jackson against
Central Arkansas.